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The USAIDResilient WatersProgram is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Developmentand
implemented by Chemonics International Inc. Fixed amount award No. RWP-G3-MDF is a sub-grant
implemented by Mahlathini Development Foundation.
© Mahlathini Development Foundation (MDF)
2 Forresters Lane
Pietermaritzburg, 3201
KZN, South Africa
T (+27)828732289
W www.mahlathini.org
Company Reg. No. 2016/285787/08 (2016)
Non-profit org. Reg. No. 930051028 (2015)
DUNS No. 539162 399
Community based climate change adaptation for increased
water productivity and food security for improved rural
livelihoodsin the Lower Olifants basin
MILESTONE 2: Visioning and Decision Support (1)
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Mahlathini Development Foundation (MDF) is a small public benefit non-profit organization consisting of
rural development practitioners who specialize in participatory learning and action processes, sustainable
natural resource managementand low external input farming systems, including a focus on rain water
harvesting, conservation agriculture, intensive homestead food production, food security,climate change
adaptationmicro finance and enterprise development.
MDF designs and implements rural development programmes and training processes providing learning
processes for adults all the way from semi- literate farmers to post graduate university level. We work in
partnership with government and non-government organisations alike. We are sensitive to and mainstream
where possible gender, disability and people living with HIV/AIDs.
Climate variability and climate change (increased temperature, increased variability in rainfall patterns,
increased intensity of storms and increased drought) have far reaching effects on the lives and livelihoods
of the rural poor.Climate change poses a significant threat to South Africa’s water resources, food
security, health, infrastructure, ecosystem services and biodiversity.
This project intends to effect processes for community-based climate change adaptation (CB-CCA) for
improved livelihoods and resilience for project participants through introduction and implementation of
climate resilient agricultural (CRA) practices, building of social agency and stakeholder platforms and
support for alternative income generation opportunities.
The Innovation Systems methodological approachfor this projectfocuses on local level learning groups
and individual and group experimentation to increase local capacity and agency in building systems for
food security and rural livelihoods.
As a first step, a village level assessment of climate change impacts and general natural resource use
patterns are done. Secondly, an analysis of adaptive strategies and associated practices provides the
platform for implementation of locally derived and prioritized activities and CSA practices. Thirdly, the
learning groups provide the organizational platforms for participatory research and monitoring, improved
governance and agency and collaborative actions around village level water resource management,
rainfed cropping systems, grazing management, village level savings and loan associations and farmer
centers for local input provision and marketing.
Research and development assistance’s key role will be to create and facilitate innovation platforms for
local action in an environment of increasingly fractured social structures, immense economic and survival
pressures, and where direct government support to rural dwellers has decreased dramatically over the last
decade.Use of the smallholder farmer level decision support system will ensure a locally motivated and
owned agenda for action, with potential for transformative adaptation that includes local stakeholders
and service providers in the Communities of Practice (CoPs).
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Table of Contents
1 Executive Summary.......................................................................................................5
1.1 Progress for the reporting period.................................................................................5
2 Project Objectives........................................................................................................5
2.1 Overview of RW Community based CCA Project objectives...................................................5
3 Milestone Description.....................................................................................................6
3.1 Definition of milestone and purpose..............................................................................6
4 Visioning and decision support..........................................................................................6
4.1 Climate change impact mapping and visioning for new villages..............................................6
4.1.1 Understanding of Climate change................................................................8
4.1.2 Changes in the environment......................................................................9
4.1.3 Climate change impacts.........................................................................11
4.1.4 Local practices....................................................................................13
4.1.5 Adaptive measures...............................................................................14
4.1.6 CCA workshop reflection........................................................................15
4.1.7 Baselines...........................................................................................15
4.2 Review and planning for existing groups.......................................................................18
4.2.1 Turkey 1 and 2....................................................................................18
5 Progress for main activities...........................................................................................22
5.1 Learning and implementation:...................................................................................22
5.1.1 Conservation Agriculture experimentation...................................................22
5.1.2 Organic vegetable production and marketing................................................39
5.2 Mango production and marketing................................................................................41
5.3 Water committees................................................................................................. 42
5.3.1 Initial meetings and locations for boreholes.................................................42
5.3.2 Choosing of location for borehole drilling by Participants................................. 43
5.3.3 Designing and mapping the mainline pipe lines..............................................43
5.3.4 Decision making with MDF and the participants.............................................44
5.3.5 Continuing with installation of pumps and header tanks...................................45
5.3.6 Planning the digging of the main pipeline trenches.........................................46
5.3.7 Laying the pipes from the header tanks to the homesteads...............................48
5.3.8 Connection of pipes in Turkey..................................................................49
5.3.9 Connection of pipes in Sedawa................................................................. 50
5.4 Networking and stakeholder engagement......................................................................51
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5.4.1 PGS workshop.....................................................................................51
5.4.2 Stakeholder engagement........................................................................54
6 Monitoring,evaluation and learning (MEL) plan....................................................................56
6.1 Framework & indicators..........................................................................................56
7 Work Plan for Milestone 3.............................................................................................56
7.1 Work plan for May- July 2020....................................................................................57
8 Appendices...............................................................................................................58
8.1Appendix 2: Attendance registers for stakeholder meetings................................................58
8.2 Appendix 2: CSO submission re COVID-19 disaster refiled support to smallholders.....................59
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1Executive Summary
1.1Progress for the reporting period
This report focusses on the introductory climate change adaptation (CCA) process for 4 new villages in the
Lower Olifants basin. Processes that include exploration of climate change impacts and community level
adaptive strategies have been conducted for Santeng, Worcester, Madeira and Lorraine. Baseline
interviews have been concluded for26 participants across these villages
In addition, a networking workshop was held for all participating villages (~100 participants) focussing on
marketing, organic market development, PGS (participatory guarantee system), local savings and loan
associations and small business development. Introductory workshops for villages saving and loan
associations 9VSLAs) were held in five villages (Santeng, Willows, Sedawa, Turkey, Worcester and
A Conservation Agriculture (CA) field cropping experimentation process was implemented for 35
participants across four villages.
Further ongoing activities included weekly organic vegetable sales at the Hlokomela Wellness Wednesday
markets and work with the two water committees (Sedawa and Turkey) to continue the installation of
borehole pumps, header tanks and lay out of main pipelines for household water provision.
Farmer representatives visited the M-Pak packhouse for a tour of the facilities and to initiate the mango
supply arrangements into the dried mango market. Lists of participants across 4 villages who are to be
involved and who will buy in and grow more mango trees of the preferred varieties have been compiled
MDF is collaborating with the Nova Institute to put a joint proposal to Agri SA to further develop this
marketing option.
A new intern, Jessica Mangena has been brought on board.
MAHLATHINI: Erna Kruger, Betty Maimela,Jessica Mangena(Intern), Nqe Dlamini, Thabiso Mbatha
CHEMONICS: Sitha Mvumvu, Mayford Manika, Lindela Mketeni and Steve Collins.
2Project Objectives
2.1Overview of RW Community based CCA Project
GOAL: Increased adaptive capacity and resilience to the impacts ofclimate change for poor, rural
households involved in agriculture.
This goal is aimed specifically at Objectives 3 and 4 as set out in the 2019 Resilient Waters Program APS:
ØObjective 3:Strengthened ability of communities and key institutions to adapt to change,
particularly the impacts of climate change; and
ØObjective 4: Conserved biodiversity and ecosystem services.
ØReduced vulnerability to climate change by supporting and strengthening collective action,
informed adaptation strategies and practices and tenable institutional arrangements at a local
level, including all relevant service providers and sectors.
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ØIncreased sustainability and efficiency of CSA systems in the study areas giving specific
attention to the value chain, using an IS approach
ØAdaptation and scaling out of sustainable CSA systems in selected areas using livelihoods and
environmental criteria and
ØBuilding and strengthening of different innovation platforms and networks for financing,
awareness and implementation of community level Climate Change Adaptation (CCA)."
3Milestone Description
3.1Definition of milestone and purpose
Milestone descriptions have been developed forthe RW CB-CCA project for the period starting January
2020and endingNovember 2021.The table below summarises the activities against the present milestone
description and budget.
Table 1: Mahlathini Development Foundation Milestone 2: 20 December 2019-30 April2020
Milestone Verification
Target Due
Visioning and
Support (I)
Progress report
The grantee will submit to Chemonics a Visioning and Decision
Support report detailing the following:
i.Number of participants engagedin the initial
meetings in Ga Mametja and Ga Mamathlola
ii.Baseline Informationfrom participants
iii.Climate change mapshowing the impact within
the communities.
iv.Climate Change Adaptive strategies.
i.Attendance Registersform initial meetings with
ii.Photographsfrom initial meetings with
The grantee will also submit a progress report outlining progress
in all main activities undertaken in the time period; 20 December-
30 April, (including action plans, learning and mentoring,
monitoring, reviews and networking)
30 April
4Visioning and decision support
4.1Climate change impact mapping and visioningfor new
MDF visited and introduced the resilient waters project concept in four new villages; Santeng, Worcester,
Madeira and Lorraine. These initial visits also consisted of speaking to the local authorities and conducting
household and field level visits to ascertain activities and issues from local smallholders.
This was followed by the CCA workshop process:CCA workshop 1. Climate change analysis impact and
adaptive measures.The workshop runs over a period of two days.
Facilitation steps proposed are as follows:
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1.Contextualization: Natural resources; need to look at climate change databases for
KZN/EC/Limpopo, and discuss with people how these will affect them Tools; A4 impact pictures or a
PP presentation of floods, droughts, erosion, declining natural resource base, declining yields, …)
2.Look at the difference between variability in weather and climate change. There is variability in
weather and there is also a major change in that variability in weather, predictions and certainty
(Tools, role play- Phone call; weekend visit vs moving to an area)
3.Exploration of temperature and rainfall and participants’ understanding of how these are changing
(Tool: Seasonal diagrams on temperature and rainfall normal and how these are changing)
4.Timeline in terms of agriculture (Tool: livelihoods and farming timelines -assessment of past,
present and future)
5.CC impact Map: Changes (in natural resources), impacts (of changes), practices (past, present,
future), challenges/responses (Tool: Mind mapping of impacts)
6.Current practices and responses (effectiveness of responses) (Tool: outlining adaptive measures on
mind map)
Using these facilitation steps a workshop process is designed tailored to each specific group and their
responses to the questions and discussions.
The workshops were run towards the end of January and in early February, 2020 for groups who requested
involvement. Mostly residents had heard of the CCA work being conducted in other villages in the area and
asked to be included. This is a
method for horizontal scaling of
work, based on local interest.
Attendance of the workshops were a
bit disappointing. It was ascertained
later, that conducting the
workshops under the auspices of the
local traditional authorities had
driven a number of interested
individuals away,due to conflictual
and difficult relationships and lack
of trust. The situation has since
been rectified.
Figure 1: Sylvester and Betty
facilitating during the CCA workshop in
The small tablebelowsummarizes participationand present farming activities for these groups.
Village name
No of
Field cropping
Livestock rearing
12 (Mostly indigenous
The outcomes of the workshops are discussed for all four villages together, as many of the discussions and
issues are similar across the villages.
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Understanding of Climate change
Here participants talked to their understanding of changes in climate and weather and also conducted the
seasonal diagrams for temperature and rainfall to indicate the changing trends.
Mostly farmers could not define climate change and were not sure what it means even though they have
heard of climate change over the radio and on TV. They were not sure of the causes of climate change,
but a few well-informed participants mentioned burning of deforestation, air and water pollutionas
causes ofclimate change.
They could however quite clearly define how the weather patterns have changes; indicating increased
heat and changing rainfall patterns as the two main changes. Changes in rainfall are mainly later onset of
summer rains and unpredictable rainfall during the rainy season. They also mentioned the drought that
has been decimating crops and livestock in the area for the last 4-5 years. This seasonis the firstrainy
season that has provided something closer to normal rainfall in the area, although it has still beenlower
than what people remember.
The seasonality maps provided more detailed insight. Participants divided into small groups and
constructed seasonality diagrams; first
indicating the “normal” temperatures and
rainfall on two separate diagrams and then
indicating, using red markers, the changes they
have experienced in the last six to seven years.
Participants were all clear that temperatures
have increased dramatically throughout the
whole year.
Figure 2: The seasonality diagram for temperature
developed by the Santeng village participants.
The rainfall diagrams differed somewhat between the villages, although the overall trends were marked in
all cases. Summer onset of rainfall has shifted from September to October and November. Rainfall in
October has become toolow and erratic to allow for planting and most planting now happened from the
middle of November into December. They also discussed that the rainfall in January is lower than before,
leading to mid-season droughts and crop failure.
Figure 3:Rainfall seasonality diagrams for Worcester (left),Santeng(centre) and Lorraine(right)
Effects of increased temperature and variable rainfall are considered to be the following:
It feels as though there is no winter anymore and heat in spring and summer has been extreme
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Increase in temperature means a decrease in grass cover in the environment with increased
erosion and environmental problems
Most farmers have stopped farming activities, because crops will do notsurvive the extreme heat
with reduced access to water. Other farmers have changed their planting calendars over the last
five years to accommodate for the changing rainfall patterns and heat.
Many of the fruit trees planted in participants’ yards have died, as well as some of the indigenous
trees and people fear large scale die back of trees in the environment.
Food will be expensive; including livestock food.
Farmers also complained about having lower and lower yields over the past five to six seasons.
Underground water will be depleted.
They rely on underground water for both irrigation and household use. As more boreholes are
drilled, underground water is starting to run out.
Extreme heat and low rainfall in January are resulting in field crops wilting and dying. Shifting
planting dates to February might not be a good idea, because winter starts just as the maize starts
tussling and thus harvests will be badly affected. Some farmers suggested they could irrigate their
maize in January, but due to low rainfall in December over the last few years, access to water in
streams and rivers has been hampered. They believe that access to water for irrigation will
become and even bigger problem in the future. In some of the villages, such as Santeng, there is
no access to surface water at all and farmers have to rely on boreholes, many of which are
becoming salty and drying up.
There is now a delay in harvesting wild leafy vegetables (morogo) as this used to be in November.
Now that it is drier and hotter, the supply has decreased considerably. Crops like mustard spinach
used to be grown in winter, but with the hotter temperatures it is no longer doing well.
There is a change in crop types that can be planted. Heat tolerant crops are now preferred. These
include: chillies, onions, cowpeas, peanuts, jugo beans, sugar beans, sweet potatoes
Planting of vegetables now works better in controlled environments such as greenhouses.
These changes willaffect their livelihoods, as most of theparticipantsrely heavily on income
made from the sale of cropsto supplement their livelihoods.
Changes in the environment
The discussions with participants start with exploring the changes they are experiencing over time in their
general environment and in their farming system
A list of changes is provided below (summarized for the 4 villages):
Low rainfall
Unpredictable distribution of rainfall (we planted dry land fields in November after the onset of
rainfall but our crops died now)
More frequent veld fires
Very high temperatures (is getting hotter)
Lots of mosquitoes and threat of malaria
Drought (five years interval)
No harvest (it has been a couple of years in this area)
Low production of staple food
Cannot grow anything in winter (no water for drinking let alone for irrigation)
Jobs are affected
Soil erosion
Fruits (mangos) low quality (small size and they fall off the tree)
Outbreak of pests
Low or lack of grazing areas
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Rivers are drying out
Food prices are increasing
Changes in the faming environment were explored by discussing the past, present and future of their
farming system. Again, comments from the four villages have been compiled into one summary table
Table 1: Summary of an analysis of the past, present and future of the smallholder farming system in the lower
Planted millet and sorghum (this
was drought tolerant) better than
the maize
Planted in September and
harvested in January
Maize (is not doing well) but we
cannot go back to millet and
sorghum, (birds are a major
problem), most of the millet and
sorghum varieties have
The planting time has changed to
end of November, but rain is not
enough to get a harvest
We need to find new ways to
improve production of maize
Production of maize will become
Used to plough by hand
Now we use tractors
If the trend of heat and lack of
rain continues, we will need to
stop farming
Good yields
Declining yield and no yield in
some years
We going to have to stop farming
at some point if things continue
the same way (we won’t have
inputs (e.g. seed will disappear) to
keep trying with
In the past there was more access
to grazing and more grazing.We
had herders who kept the cattle
out of the fields
There are no herders anymore as
the children go to school and we
cannotafford to pay people to do
There is less grazing and more
diseases in cattle and we need to
provide winter fodder to keep
them alive
It is very costly to lose cattle and
when the die we cannot afford to
replace them. A few rich farmers
will own all the cattle and others
will be left with nothing.
Variety of indigenous fruits
(mahlabo, dibopudu) these were
healthy, we didn’t pay money to
get these
Wild animals such as monkeys and
baboons were there, but did not
cause so much damage
A few indigenous fruits (lots of
these trees are now used for
Wild animalsinvade our fields and
household plots. There is no food
for them in nature
There is little we can do about this
situation (but some of us have
started growing some of the trees
in the house hold) e.g. Marula
trees but they do not always bear
fruits (thoughthosethat grew
naturally bears fruits)
We are going to buy everything in
the future
These animals will disappear
There was less money but a lot
more access to healthy food grown
by us. We used to mill our own
maize and we did not use
Now there is still no money, but
we use chemicals that poison our
food. We buy food that is not
health and suffer from diseases
that were not there in the past;
high blood pressure, diabetes,
We need to grow our own food
There should be opportunities for
those who can continue to farm
as there will be fewer farmers
those who can could make
reasonable incomes.
People will get more educated and
hopefully come with solutions.
Opportunity for things to get much
better and much worse at the
same time
Having a vision of what you want
to see is important
We need to protect and save
whatever there still is left to be
able to preserve our future.
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In the past there was easy access
to water
Since 2015 water has become more
and more scarce. Rivers, boreholes
and dams are drying up
Even if the rains return, it will be
difficult for us to recover and start
farming again
From the analysis in the table, it is clear that the participants in these workshops have a good grasp of
how things have shifted and the pressures on their farming system. They have some suggestions of how
they can continue into the future, but the increased vulnerability of these people is also obvious. A lot of
what is required is reconstructing natural and physical infrastructure to allow for farming to continue, a
task that many smallholders find daunting and for which very limited resources are available.
Climate change impacts
Impacts of climate change were discussed, again in small groups, doing the climate change impact
mapping exercise.This exercise is designed for participants to explore all the possible CC impacts on their
farming systems and livelihood as a starting point to beginning to identify possible adaptive measures.
Figure 4: Discussing the impacts nada dative measures in small groups here assisted by the new intern Constance
Rasweswe (left) and CC impact maps for the two small groups in Worcester (right)
The impacts and adaptive measures proposed by the group members are presented in the two tables
below for Worcester and Santeng as examples
Table 2: Worcester CCA impacts and adaptive strategies summary
Description and linkages
Potential adaptive measure
Plants wilt and die, veld
Hunger, skin cancer, affects body
and energy, diarrhoea, vomiting
and fatigue, pest outbreaks,
affect internal body temperature,
disease, plants die, water has
salt, drought
-Provide soil cover (mulching) -
We don’t know what to do -
buy animal feed,
-government livestock feed
- cut out bushes to reduce veld
fires and use these as firewood
- use ash to purify water
-plant trees(indigenous) in our
-use blue death,
-buy food and buy water
Less rain, Increased
evaporation, water sources
dry out
No water for drinking and
washing, less indigenous trees,
decrease in indigenous food, less
food or no food
irrigate using borehole water,
buy water, drill boreholes
Soil microorganisms die, soil
erosion, increased soil
Loss of fertility, loss of
microorganisms, formation of
Using erosion control measures
(contour planting)
-Use furrows and ridges as a
planting strategy
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Lower yields, more pests,
veld fires, die back of
indigenous trees
Less or no indigenous fruits
Plant more trees, minimise or
stop burning things
Grasses dry out, no grazing,
more diseases,
Livestock decreasing, not
-Stop burning of bush to
increase feed availability
-buy animal feed, or ask for
animal feed support from
- buy medicines
Lots of human and animal
diseases (e.g. Malaria)
Poverty, hunger and death,
Population will decrease,
Increase in food prices,
crime, corruption, lack of
economic growth,
migration, police stations
overcrowded, air pollution,
stress and depression, strike
for jobs, no jobs
No tourists, businesses will
perform poorly, people won’t
grow food anymore and there will
be no income,
Hospitals will be full, increased
demand for medicine
No transfer of knowledge to the
next generation
-Seek professional help
-plant herbs and vegetables,
plant your own crops instead of
always buying
- entrepreneurship, job
Table 3:Santeng CCAimpacts and adaptive strategies summary
Description and linkages
Potential adaptive measure
Less rainfall
Grass will stop growing,
indigenous plants and crops will
die, nature is not beautiful
Lack of grazing, livestock
die, loss of traditional
Underground water depleted
and rivers are dry
No water for household use,
irrigation and livestock,
borehole drying out
Rainwater harvesting (rooftop)
Soil temperature increase and
soil erosion
Poor and less yields, hunger,
poverty and death
They don’t know what to do to
reduce soil erosion and protect
the soil temperature from
Yield decreases each year and
crop diseases increase
No yield or less yield
Use blue death powder for pest
control and they don’t control
crop diseases, as they are
unemployed and don’t have
money to buy pesticides. They
lose when their crops are
attacked by diseases. They will
stop their farming activities.
Lack of grazing, and water for
Decrease in livestock
Buy animal feed
Human health declines,
Diseases, Loss of jobs, Hunger,
poverty, divorces, crime, jail,
Murder, crime, no money to
support families, conflicts
between neighbors
Visit clinics when they are sick.
A summary of adaptive strategies suggested by all four villages is presented below
Table 4: Summary of adaptive strategiessuggested by participants
Buy animal
Control veld fires
Visit clinics
Furrow and
tolerant crops
Stop cutting
trees and bushes
Plant own food
instead of buying
planting times
Plant trees in
small businesses
Blue death for
pest control
Job creation
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Participants also said that in many cases they don’t know what to do and are willing and interested to
learn new ways and practices to be able to improve their farming and resource management. In all
villages, participants were very concerned with the social problems in their areas, which they feel are
increasing day by day and has a very negative impact on their lives.
Local practices
These were gleaned fromconversation and household visits. The intention is also to find local adaptive
practices that are working well which can be included in the practices to be promoted through this
In Worcester some of the local practices noticed during the walks were:
Rearing indigenous chicken
Planting fruit trees (mainly mango trees)
Planting indigenous trees (e.g. Marula and Mokgogoma trees)
Mixed cropping (with legumes) e.g. groundnuts and jugo beans
Figure 5: Worcester practices; intercropping (left), planting mango trees in fields (centre) and indigenous poultry
enclosure (right)
In Madeira, further practices including banana basins, mulching, roof rainwater harvestingand making of
compost were recorded. Participants mentioned that in the past they used to make pit compost, burying
crop wastes and watering them well as a way to fertilize their fields and gardens. These days they cannot
find anyone who is prepared to put in that labour. They also mentioned that as they cannotafford what
people want to be paid to do weeding, they have resorted to using Roundup herbicide on their fields. They
do not believe that they are using it properly and do not have protective clothing. In addition, they
sometimes use pesticides, but do not understand well how they work. They have requested help with
these aspects. It was discussed that there are natural pest and disease control options and farmers were
keen to try these out.
Figure 6: Practices in Madeira; banana basins, roof rainwater harvesting, compost piles and pesticides
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Adaptive measures
After the village walks, groups reconvened and were shown slides outlining some potential climate
resilient agriculture practices that they could try out. These practices are presented as 1pagers that gives
a description of each practice. The practices database is attached separately.
They developed criteria that they would find important when deciding on a practice and used these to do
a matrix prioritization of potential practices.
Below is an example of a prioritization matrix for climate resilient agriculture practices for Madeira.
Drip irrigation
Keyholebeds (grey water)
Banana circles
Rainwater harvesting
Tied ridges
Targeted fertilizer and lime
Liquid manure
Trench beds
Note: 1-Hard to do, 2-Medium, 3-Easy to do
Note 2: the difference between labour and hard labour is seen as the labour required to initially implement the
practice and the labour during the growing season to continue or maintain the practice
Farmers indicated that they would like to get practical knowledge on everything they were shownso that
they are able to do it in their farms. Thematrix indicates that they are more interested in drip irrigation,
furrows, liquid manure and eco-circles mainly, because these areless costly and does not require hard
For Santeng the following practice prioritization matrix was developed.
Drip irrigation
Diversion ditches
Rainwater harvesting
Ridges and furrows
Stone bunds
Banana basins
Crop rotation
Mixed cropping
Conservation Agriculture
Targeted fertilizer and lime
Liquid manure
Trench beds
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Note: 1-Hard to do, 2-Medium, 3-Easy to do
Note 2: The difference between labour and hard labour is seen as the labour required to initially implement the
practice and the labour during the growing season to continue or maintain the practice
During the presentation of practices to the learning group, pictures of the results of implementing
practices were used; farmers were impressed and they felt like they could do the same thing, because
they are struggling to grow crops using their old system. Most farmers chose to try trench beds and
shallow trench beds in their garden as a start, and they requested practical demonstration for all the
practices, more especially the trench bed, how to make drip kits, liquid manure, compost, Eco-circles,
tower garden and soil conservation.
For Worcester the criteria chosen for assessing practices were:
Easy to understand and implement
Water use efficiency
Cost effective
Less labour intensive
Produce good results (good quality crops)
Farmers suggested they would want to prepare for winter planting; making and planting seed beds for
growingspinach, tomatoes, mustard spinach, beetroot, onions, carrots and cabbage. Participants
requested seed.
They also said they would like to learn about and try out the following:
Better way of preparing seedling beds
Water saving methods in the garden (drip kit, use of grey water, tower garden)
Pest control measures (natural pest control remedies, and growing of herbs)
For Lorraine, farmers have previously been involved in a food security project implemented by Lima RDF.
They knew most of the practices already and felt that the only thing they still lack are shade cloth tunnels.
CCA workshop reflection
Farmersfelt that theylearned a lot from the workshop. They have been facing climate change effects and
couldn’t relate these changes; they first thoughtof them as punishment from God and they prayed more
for rain in their village but still nothing changed, instead the situation is different each year.
Farmers know about the word climate change but never thought the changes they are facing are the result
of climate change. Through the presentations,farmers showed their interest in learning new practices to
implement mainly in their gardens. Farmers have chosen practices to try out and will assist with
monitoring the impact of the practices they implemented in their gardens.
They also stressed more their water challenges. They don’t have water even though there are municipality
boreholes that can supplythe villages, somehave dried out others need maintenance.
This season farmers have planted field crops, in the hope that the season would be better than the last
five years. They have found however that they will once again not have a harvest and their stocks of
locally saved seed have now dwindled to nothing.
The vast majority of the participants no longer own large livestock (cattle and goats) and are focusing
instead on rearing indigenous poultry as their only option at present.
These realities set the scene for the focus of our support interventions on intensified food production in
homestead plots, linked to small livestock integration.
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A total of 26 baseline interviews were conducted across Santeng, Worcester and Madeira. This is
equivalent to around 36% of potential respondents. Baselines for Lorraine were conducted in the previous
cycle of implementation.
Questions in the baselines relate to basic socio-economic information (age, gender, household head,
income sources, income), farming practices (gardening field cropping, livestock multipurpose plants, fruit,
nurseries), diversity of crops and livestock and water sources.
The figures below give an indication of the situation.
Figure 7:Above Left: The figure provides a breakdown of income sources for the respondents and Above Right; give
anindication of the average monthly household income
Four of the 26 respondents were male (15%) and also heads of households. For the female respondents,
76% of them considered themselves to be heads of households.96% of respondents receive social grants
and of these, 73% rely entirely on social grants for their monthly incomes. This is corroborated by the
small figure above on income ranges mentionedfor participants. 50% of participant households earn
between R1600-R3200/ month. This is for an average household member number of 7,3 (min 3 max 11).
The 27 % of participants in the next income bracket (R3200-R6400), receive either two pensions, more
than the average of 2-3 child grants and or wage and family support.
If all the incomes are average out, then a per capita income for these participants is around R860/month.
This is just slightly above the lower bound poverty line of R810 per capita per month and well below the
upper bound poverty line of R1227 per capita (https://businesstech.co.za/news/finance/332553/this-is-how-much-
In addition, the incomes of female headed households are ~33% lower than those of male headed
households, as shown in the small table below
Ave income M headed household
R3 600,00
Ave income F headedhousehold
R2 421,00
Wages are earned through work in local fruit estates, which is season, working in the CWP (Community
Work Programme) and other low-level civil servant positions. A few respondents, around 23%, make some
monthly income through sale of produce. Levels of sales are quite low and average between R200-R400/
This provides a picture of a very poor rural population where more than 63% of respondents live well
below the poverty line.
The situation for water provision in these villages is severely restricted. Around 40% of these households
can only access enoughwater for household use and have stopped farming practices that need irrigation.
They get water through the Mopani District municipality; tankers deliver water to central points in the
Local produce
Social grant
Sources of income (N=26)
Average monthly household income (n=26)
| 17
village, on average once a week. The drums need to be transported to their homes and the average cost
for that is R35/210l. A few have made arrangements with the Municipality to fill up their JoJo tanks. This
costs them R650/2200l tank. A few other are part of small groups who have laid pipes up into the
mountains to get water. This only works well in average to high rainfall years as the streams higher up
have also all but dried up in the ongoing drought. Keeping of large livestock such as goats and cattle has
reduced substantially over the last 5-7 years, due to lack of grazing and water.
Most households in these areas practise a mixed farming system of gardening, field cropping, planting
multipurpose trees and shrubs, fruit production and livestock management.
The small figures below provide a summary of production and local practises employed by the
Figure 8: Above; number of respondents undertaking
different local practices. Right; breakdown of participants
keeping livestock undertaking field cropping, fruit
production and cultivating multipurpose plants and trees
The bullet points below provide a narrative
ØParticipants eat on average 3 times per week, of their own produce. They consume around 1,7-2
types of produce during this time. Examples are spinach and maize. This indicator shows that
participants are not presently considered food secure through their own production as they should
be eating a minimum of 5 times per week, from 4-5 different types of crops or produce
ØAlmost all participants engage in gardening (mainly ‘morogo’, pumpkin and cowpea leaves and
sweet potatoes), field cropping (mainly maize and cowpeas), fruit production (mainly mangoes),
and livestock production (mainly indigenous poultry)
ØAll participants engage in use of greywater as well as rainwater harvesting. For the RWH they
mainly used tubs and 210l drums. Only 23% of participants have JoJo tanks (either 2200l or 5000l)
05 10 15 20 25 30
Manure, fertilizer
Dedicated garden beds
Diversified crops
Multipurpose plants
Grey water use
Field crops
Seed saving
Farming income
Food (x/wk)
No of veg eaten
Local practices (n=26)
chickens goats cattle pigs
No of participants who keep livestock (n=26)
maize sugarcane sugar
Cowpeas sorghum
No of participants undertaking field cropping
No of participants with multifunctional plants
7462312 2 2
No of participants growing fruit trees (n=26)
| 18
ØAround 19% of participants do not fertilize their crops when planting, around 7% use fertilizer, but
for the most part participants use combinations of chicken litter and goat and cow manure for
ØA large proportion (~82%) of participants keep their own seed for re-planting in consecutive
seasons and
ØMany (around 77%) also grow multipurpose plants such as indigenous fruit (‘Marla’ and
Tokonoma’), indigenous windbreaks and soil amelioration trees (such as Moringa, and Wild Medlar
or Mmilo), aloes and flowers and
ØThe reason why fruit production is dominated by Mango trees, is that many other fruit tree types
have died back in the ongoing drought; including bananas, avocadoes and citrus trees.
These baselines provide an indication of the kind of intervention entry points in terms of climate resilient
agriculture that would make sense for participants and also provides a snapshotfor comparison later in
the project, to determine progress and impact.
4.2Review and planning for existing groups
These sessions are held with existing learning groups according to their implementation cycles. During this
period the review and planning sessions was held for the two turkey learning groups.
Turkey 1 and 2
CCA review and seasonal planning workshop Turkey
Number of participants: 34
New members
1.Botane Moropane
2.Betha Marula
3.Masete Hellen
4.Mogofe Florence
Village: Turkey
Date: 20 March 2020
Facilitator: Betty and Jessica
(Mahlathini Development Foundation)
1.Purpose of the workshop
The main purpose is to evaluate the
impact of the programme for the past
two years and plan with farmers innovative and new practices they will be implementing this year. And to
talk more about thefollowingtopics;
Adding of organic matter to the soil
Seed saving
| 19
2.Review of five finger principle with farmers/what have they benefited from the project
The exercise is done to evaluate and to get an understanding of what farmers could remember or have
tried from all practices introduced under each of the five finger principles (soil erosion control improved
soil fertility, improved water management, crop production, multipurpose plants, trees and nature). What
farmers wereasked to do is to state practices they have implemented in their gardens and what has
changed since they implemented the practice?
a)Elizabeth Mokgatla_ had a problem of soil erosion in her household and the soil in her yard is hard
because the topsoil was eroded by water during rainy season. What she first did wastobuildstone
bunds around her yard (using cement bricks that she madeherself) and diverted water to her
garden. In her garden she used shallow trench beds and furrows when planting her vegetables.
The most important thing she has learnt isthat soil is more important than water; you can have
water and still not harvest.
b)Sara Madire_ she has implemented the following practices in her garden and field-cropping;
Rain water harvesting through roof gutter to a jo-jo tank, also diverted water from her
yard to a small dam she built and later lined with bentonite to make it water proof
Stone bunds around her garden and her yard
She always adds organic waste from her household in her garden, she also makes her own
compost which takes about six months to be ready for use. In her compost she adds dry
leaves, green materialand weeds, ashes, smallamounts of chicken manure and grey
Trench beds are the best; she has 11 trench beds in her garden. The quality of crops from
the trench beds is very good. She noticed that when she starts a new planting and doesn’t
add a bit of manure or compost when she plants the seedlings, the quality of her produce
decreases. She noticed this in one bed and now adds manure whenever she plants
She uses planting basins and CA when planting her vegetables, maize and cover crops in
her garden. She prefers using planting basins because she doesn’t have water. Planting
basins saves water and produces better crops, due to the extra water going straight to the
Liquid manure using a chicken manure soaking in water for 10 days and diluting before
use. She uses liquid manure for both pests and soil fertility.
Banana basins_ She also has two trench beds in the middle of banana basins and because
they can hold so much water it reduces her irrigation schedule; she only irrigates once a
week on those trench beds.
Mixed cropping
c)Norah Tshetlha_ She’s been farming for years; since she was young. From introduced CCA
practices she firstly implemented trench beds where she planted different kinds of crops for each
practice. The picture belowwas taken from her garden after her first seasonof implementing the
| 20
Norah was one of the farmers who used to do mono-cropping before. Since she has been
part of the project, she is planting different kinds of vegetables. She even plants crops
that she never
knewsuch as;
kale, leeks, spring
onions and herbs.
Mulching_ The
practice is not new
to her, though now
she uses more of
organic matter.
When she was
growing her elders
would use tree
leaves to cover the
soil, for minimising soil erosion. Mulching reduces the rate of water evaporation on the
Liquid manure_ She used this practice, where she made her liquid manure using cow
manure and soaking for 10 days. When she used the liquid manure in winter for pest
control, it didn’t work 100%, but she was able to manage the pest problem in her garden.
d)Magdalena Shai_ She is one of the young farmers in the group. She implemented trench beds, eco-
circles, mixed cropping and crop rotation. She has a small garden and has not increased the size,
due to difficulty of getting access to irrigation water. She used to get water from the mountain
but now that there are
conflicts and she can
only get municipal
water (paid for),three
times in a month.
is 10m by 10m, but
also have a plot that is
50m by 20m for maize
and cover crops. All
the practices she
implemented are
working well and she
also shares information
and experiences with others, especially young people whoare unemployed.
3.How do farmers make decisions in terms of implementation of new ideas and practices?
Farmers base their decisions on how easy the practiceis to implement. Mmatshego
mentioned that it’s not easy to implement new things, but if resultsare presented,
examples are shown to prove that the practice hasbeen tried by other farmers and it’s
working very well; then it makes it easier for her to give it a go
Isaac Malatji said it’s not easy to move from traditional ways of doing things to something
new, becausethey associate change with risk and they are not ready forthat
| 21
Elias Mogofe implemented trench beds after seeing results at Mmatshego’s gardenand
mentioned that if he had not seen that, he doubted that he would have tried the practice.
He also mentioned that it’s easier to choose practice where you know you are not going to
lose anything after implementing
Lucas Mokhawane thinksitis because farmers don’t go back and check the results and
check whether the practice is working or no; for example, a tower garden was practically
introduced at Nkurwane Shaai’s household,but no-one has visited her to see how it is
going.They also had soil and water conservation workshop at his household and planted
pigeonpeatreesand no one came to check that either.If we don’t visit and work
together as farmers in this learning group, then we will only progress slowly.
4.Seed saving; what have farmers done?
Only 35% of the participants have been saving seed.They mostly store seeds in drums, glass bottles or jars
and plastic packets, somewhere cool and dark inside their homes.
The following list was provided for seed being saved:
Fresh produce; Mustard spinach, Carrots, Onion, Leek, Butternut, Brinjal, Chilli, Kale,
Tomato, peas and Moringa
Herbs; Basil, Rocket, Fennel
Field crops; Maize, Cow-peas, Green beans, Sugar beans, White beans, Sun-flower, Sun hemp
Those who are not keeping seed provided the following reasons; that they do not have enough water for
cropping, they only produce enough to eat and or forget to keep seed when the time comes.
Compost is decayed organic matter (plant and or animal), used as a fertilizer. Composting is therefore the
art of making and using compost. Farmers were firstly introduced to trench beds as one of the practices
that fertilizes the soil. Trench beds are not easy to implement as they require hard labour, but 90% have
more than four trench beds in their gardens.
Composting was introduced to farmers, but only 10% of farmers implementedthe practice in their
gardens. Most of them make pit compost, where they throw in all their organic waste from the garden and
the house, grey water, cansandbones. When the pit is full, they plant their fresh produce and start
another pit compost. Other farmers add kraal manure to fertilize the soil with mulch assisting in the
6.Practices and workshops to be implemented in 2020
Suggested practices to focus on in 2020
Suggested workshops and learning sessions
Seeding production
Processing; chilli, Marula, beetroot and atjar
Tower gardens
Organic mango production
Mango grafting
Seed saving
Nora Tshetlha-she learnt that she should put same and equal effort both inside the tunnel and
outside the tunnel. What she does inside the tunnel she must also do outside the tunnel
Petrus Tshetlha- He has learnt the importance of saving seeds from hisgarden to avoid buying
seeds each season.
Elizabeth Mokgatla-Makingyour own compost is very important as you will add the compost to
your trees and trench beds to keep the beds more fertile.
Sarah Mohlala- We have been taught about different practical practices and the way we chose
practices shows that if we don’t visit each other to see what other farmers are doing we will never
| 22
grow to be sustainable, for example Betty we spoke about tower garden which is one other simple
practice to implement especially farmers who have no space in their yards but yet because we
never visited or made any follow up not even one farmer implemented the practice after the
practical demonstration.
Figure 9: Left; Freddy Mankgele is looking at a tower garden picture with Mpodu Mogofe, Right; Farmers are
participating during the workshop.
5Progress for main activities
5.1Learning and implementation:
Conservation Agriculture experimentation
Dryland cropping is a common practice in the area, although it has declined dramatically with the five-
year drought in the area, compounding ongoing reduction in cropping due to low soil fertility, access to
seed and inputs and lack of labour.
Learning group participants are very keen to re-initiate or continue field cropping aspects of their
farming. Presently most participants undertake this activity within their extended homestead plots, with
only a small proportion of participants havingaccess to larger fields. There are only around 5-6
participants who have access to irrigation.
With the shift in weather patterns and climate variability the field cropping practice in the area has
already shifted; surprisingly away from the more drought tolerant crops such as millet and sorghum,
towards maize with supplementary irrigation. This is because of much greater predation of the millet and
sorghum by birds in particular, but also monkeys and wildlife than was experienced in the past.
Sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices such as conservation agriculture (CA), that conserve
and increase soil organic carbon (SOC) and improve soil health, are increasingly promoted in Southern
Africa as an alternative to conventional farming systems (Smith, et al., 2017)
. CA depends on the
Smith, H. J., Kruger, E., Knot, J. & Blignaut, J., 2017. Chapter 12: Conservation Agriculture in South Africa: Lessons
from Case Studies. Conservation Agriculture for Africa: Building resilient farming systems in a changing climate.
s.l.:CAB International.
| 23
simultaneous implementation of three linked principles: (1) continuous zero or minimal soil disturbance,
(2) permanent organic soil cover, and (3) crop diversification, especially with the inclusion of legumes
and/or cover crops(FAO, 2013)
Complementary practices supporting CA implementation in smallholder farming systems include
appropriate nutrient management and stress-tolerant crop varieties, increased efficiency of planting and
mechanization, integrated pest and disease and weed management, livestock integration, and enabling
political and social environments (Thierfelder, et al., 2018)
Experimentation with Conservation Agriculture has been initiated with four of the longer standing learning
groups (Sedawa, Turkey 1 ,2 and Willows) and one new learning group (Santeng). This practice is known to
improve soil health and also provide for soil and water conservation aspects within the cropping system
The process was to have an introductory workshop with each of the learning groups, to introduced the
concepts and practices and discuss inclusion into their present farming system, followed by practical
demonstrations and setting up the farmer level experimentation plots. Interested individuals in a local
area or village come together to form a learning group. Several farmers in that group then volunteer to
undertake on-farm experimentation, which creates an environment where the whole group learns
throughout the season through observations and reflections on the trials’ implementation and results.
They compare various CA treatments with their standard practices, which are planted as control plots
A summary of the workshop processes and outcomes are provided below. These workshops were
conducted in early December 2019, given that it was not clear prior to that whether there would be
enough rain for the season. Santeng
VENUE: Eric Malepe’s homestead
PARTICIPANTS: 24 (17 women, 7 men)in Sedawa and23in Santengrespectively
AIM: Review of CA principles and practice to date and planning for the present season
This learning group was established towards the end of 2016 under the AgriSI project and most if not all
members practice homestead gardening and field cropping. CA was introduced for three consecutive
seasons. For the 1sttwo seasons complete crop failure was experienced, due to the drought in the area. In
the 2018-2019 season, summer rainfalls started very late, but there was enough rain to have some growth
and yields. Group participants felt that they knew how to work with the CA principles, but it has become
clear that for most of these participants, their understanding of the process has been very superficial and
that a more concerted and in-depth effort is required.
1.Current status of field cropping in the area
We started the workshop by finding outwhat participants know about CA (or rather still remembered) and
what their observations have been from their CA trials in 2018-2019. Participants said the following:
Lack of rainfall has been a major challenge with regard to both field cropping and homestead
Pest outbreaks which are associated with extreme heat havebeen worse, especially on maize
FAO,2013.Climate Smart Agriculture Source Book. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United
Thierfelder, C. et al., 2018. Complementary practices supporting conservation agriculture in Africa. A review.
Agronomy of Sustainable Development, Volume 38:16.
| 24
Those with supplementary irrigation were able to get some harvests from field cropping systems.
For example, Mr Maphori got 160kg of sugar beans (grain) from a 0.75 ha field, planted to a
monocrop of beans (~0,2t/ha which is around 10% of the yield potential of beans) while Mpelesi
Sekgobela also realised a good harvest of maize and cowpeas (not quantified),
Magdeline Malepe who has struggled with poor soil and soil erosion, has installed stone bunds in
her field and planted in between them and has planted millet which has helped her to increase
her soil cover. She believes this is already contributing to improving her soil
Farmers have observed that soil in the CA plot holds moisture longer than their traditionally
planted plots and
Farmers have also observed less competition between the crops in their CA plots compared to
their traditional planting method.
Options for dealing with some of the problems:
Famers would like to try bird resistant sorghum and
Would like more detailed and site -specific planting calendars, although in this regard it was
explained that planting calendars cannot accommodate for rainfall variability as there is no
predictable pattern.
From this discussion, it became apparent that the 3 pillars of CA which are (Minimum soil disturbance, Soil
cover and mixed copping) were not fully understood amongst the participants.
2.Methodology used in conducting the workshop
We ran the workshop over 2 3 days: One day for theory and the 2ndand 3rddays for practical
demonstrations and planting workshops.
For the theory part, we used a power point presentation on CA and cover crops, which was printed out
and pasted on a wall, for participants to peruse, as each slide was discussed. Topics covered in the
presentation include: Principles of CA, different planting options
and planters, farmer level experimentation and layout of CA
trials, intercropping examples, reduction in runoff, cover crop
options (summer and winter combinations and a Bergville case
study for Phumelele Hlongwane)
Figure 10: Introduction of concepts in CA and cover crops using printed
Comments from the group included:
-One thing that is clear is that we have not left as much
soil cover as we see in the pictures (this could be
because in winter we clear and turn the field cropping
fields into a garden. This also means that we till the
soil, so we haven’t minimised the tilling. This has led to
a lot of run-off in the plots and in summer the rain
washesaway the seed and causes erosion”
-Seeing examples of places where CA has worked, gives
us courage to keep trying, one day we might realise the same benefits. Even with thehigh level
of uncertainty it is worth trying.”
-Though it seems in the examples shown on the slides, the people have access to water or it rains
a lot in their area “
| 25
3.Practical component (CA demonstration)
We first asked what participants would like to try in their fields. The majority wanted to try out
sunflowers andalso asked for options related to value addition of this crop.
The learning group was divided into 3 sub-groups:
I.Those who had already planted their fields at the time of the workshop
II.Those who have planted only portions of their fields at the time of the workshopand
III.Those who had not yet planted
For sub-group I, the idea was to incorporate cover crops into what they have already planted. Most of
them had planted maize only. We chose Magdalene Malepe’s homestead to do the demonstration. For sub-
group II, the demonstrationwas done at Meisy Mokwena’s homestead, Here, we aimed at trying different
combinations (maize plus beans, cover crops and lab lab) depending on how much space was available. For
sub-group III, Nomsa from Santeng (just before Willows) requested that we do a demonstration in her
village and she organised a group of participants.
Table 5: Sub-groups for planting demonstrations
Sub-Group 1
Sub- Group 2
Sub-Group 3
Christina Thobejane
Meisy Mokwena
Ema Malepe
+ 22 participants from Santeng
Magdelene Malepe
Joyce Mahlako
Lina Malepe
Makgale Malepe
Eric Malepe
France Malatji
Thamara Malepe
Ngobe Manana
Nora Malepe
Elizabath Matsete
Koko Maphori
Esina Malepe
Mr Maphori
Joyce Seotlo
Alex Mogopa
Makobila Malepe
| 26
4.Sub- Group I (CA demonstration)
This is Magdelene’s field, in some parts of the field the maize
was about 20 cm high while in other parts the maize was only
starting to germinate. The inter and intra row spacing between
the maize varied (from 25 cm to 40 cm) and the rows were not
straight. We planted Sun hemp, beans and cowpeas in between
the maize in areas where the spacing between the maize was
around 40 cm.
Figure 11: Magdalene Malepe’s planted field
Magdeline has made stone lines across her field to slow down
and spread the water flow. This gave usan opportunity to talk
about different ways to control water movement in the yard,
field or garden. We also experimented with mulch. A bale of
grass was used as mulch in a small portion of the field, to test
whether this conserves soil moisture and improves the growth of
the maize.
Figure 12: Above left one of the
stone lines in Magdalene’s field.
Chillies have been planted along
the stone line and maize has been
planted above and below this line.
Above right: Mulching a small
portion of Magdalene’s maize to
test soil moisture conservation.
5.Sub Group II(CA
Having learned from Magdalene’s plot that the spacing between the
maize varied, we introduced a rope with knots made 50 cm apart to
help participants tokeep the spacing constant. The rope is stretched
between two droppers and is 10m long.Formaize the rope needed to be
offset by 25cm in the 2ndline to accommodate for the zig-zig pattern of
making the planting basins. Another rope with the knots at 25cmwas
made for the legumes.
Figure 13: Right: Knotted rope for spacing of maize planting basins.
Due to low and unpredictable rainfall in the area, we recommended
that participants should incorporate the cover crops into their maize
field once the maize has reached knee height, to avoid competition.
With sub-group II, we demonstrated planting; maizewith a summer
cover crop mix-babala, sunflower and sun hemp, maize with sugar beans/ cowpea) aswell as (maize with
sunflower. The maize and beans/ cowpea intercrop is something participants are familiar with.
Participants wanted to plant the Dolichos (Lab-Lab) in the way they are familiar with, namely along the
| 27
fence line, so that it can climb. It was suggested that they plant a few rowsinside their fields as an
experiment- so that the soil improvement effect on neighbouring crops can be tested.
There was a good positive energy amongst participants and everyone took part during planting,
Figure 14:Above left; Mpelesi Sekgobela planting maize during the demonstration, Centre; Group busy planting, and
Right; Mulching a section of the plot after planting
WEEDING: This is an issue in organic CA systems, hence the use of mulch to suppress weeds. One plot was
mulched, and one was left without mulch as a comparison. Participants were worried that the mulch
would blow away and pegs were used to keep the mulch in place. Meisy Mokwena was also asked to weed
these CA plots, without disturbing the soil too much and ensuring that she leaves the weeds on the soil
surface to act as a mulch.
Review of the learning demonstration:
-“We appreciated that you are patient with us, it helps us when our memories are being refreshed
(even though we should be knowing this very well by now)
-You always try new methods to help us understand the subject matter
-Please provide use with some sort of a template on how to plant different combinations under
CA, (something that will look like a calendar that I can paste on a wall)
-We are going to plant, let’s hope and pray that it rains (we really want to see the full potential
of CA)
-We don’t collect wood anymore as such and ropes are not really available in the households, but
we will share the existing rope templates and try our best”.
6.Sub-Group III(Santeng village)
With this group, we went straight into the CA planting demonstration, without the day workshop on the
theoretical aspects. These aspects were however explained and discussed during the planting process.
Luckily some of the participant have worked for commercial maize farmers in the past and were already
familiar with some of the CA principles. We demonstrated how to plant maize and beans / cowpea sand
talked about cover crops and their importance with the group. The group asked for a full workshop where
we would cover a wide range of topics, from soil fertility, to pest control to seed saving.
Participants who were introduced to CA before had a reasonable grasp of the land preparation and
planting process, but were lacking somewhat in the theoretical aspects. Ways need to be explored to
introduce the CA concepts in an even more simplified format, to ensure that participants remember and
use the principles. With regard to cover crops, as is the case the most smallholders, their reason for
planting these crops is for food either for themselves or their livestock and the soil improvement aspects
| 28
are considered an added bonus. Lab-Lab for example is popular as people can eat both the leaves as
greens and cook the beans.
Under the present difficult climatic conditions, it is likely that the field crops will only do well if
supplementary irrigation can be provided.
8.Actions for MDF
-To make templates for planting CA plots (something that one can put on a wall). We are already
playing with options
-Find bird resistant sorghum seedfor next season
-Design a workshop on pest control specifically for field crops (maize in particular)
-Think through weeding options; there was a hand “weeder” that was used in Bergville at some
point that could be useful to try out. at Sedawa
Magdalene Malepe
Monitoringwas done for Magdelene Malepe’s demonstration CA trial plot in March 2020. She had planted
in the sun hempa month after the initial trial planting. It has grown very well and she mentioned that it is
a good crop for provision of fodder for goats. She mentioned also that the sun hemphas survived the dry
hot conditions better than maize, cowpeas and beans and that” intercroppingwith pigeon pea works much
better because I have seen an improvement on my soil.”
The maize however has struggled and most had died back. Upon inspecting the root growth,it was found
that the extreme compaction of the soil has caused the roots to branch out at the base of the stem,
rather than having a main/tap root growing down. This is so common in this area, the Magdelene doubted
that maize even has tap roots.
Magadelene is aware that her soil is not very fertile and has issues. In this regard, she decided to do a
small experiment with lime by herself; She added lime to a section of her plot where she planted cowpeas
and another small area with cowpeas without lime. She has seen that the cowpeas that received lime have
grown much better and are a good dark green colour compared to those without lime which showed
purpling on the leaves.
Figure 15:
sun hemp,
with maize
growing very
well. The maize
however is
showing strong
signs of heat
and water
stress and most
has already died
| 29
Figure 16:Left; A
maize plant dug up to
show root radiating
out from the base of
the stem, indicating
severely compacted
soil and Right;
cowpeas growing well,
with added lime and
Meisie Mokwena
Meisie has also
persevered with the
CA production
sugar beans and
maize in her plot. During the winter season, she throws organic waste in her plots in preparation for
planting. She also provides supplementary irrigation for her field crops from her borehole, although her
irrigation system is a bit rough given that she just places a pipe in the fieldand lets the water run out.
As her plot is quite steep, this would not provide an even spread of irrigation.
The crop growth in her different plots has been quite variable, with some showing good growth and others
not. Meisie thinks that there is variable fertility in her soil, as she has not added organic waste equally to
all the plots in her field.
Figure 17: Above left; Stone lines have been used as a S&W conservation practice. In the foreground is groundnut and
in the back ground her maize and bean
intercropped plot. Above right; some of the
maize on the steeper parts of her field is
yellow and has not grown that well
Figure 18: Right; Meisie practices
intercropping of maize and pumpkin and has
also planted a few Moringa trees in between
her maize both of these are great local
adaptations within the CA system. (1 and 2)
VENUE: Community centre in Turkey 1
AIM: Review of CA principles and practice to date and planning for the present season
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The aim of the workshop was to improve farmers’ understanding of conservation agriculture (minimum soil
disturbance, soil cover and mixed cropping) with more emphasis on cover crops. The workshop was
divided into 2 parts; atheoreticaland a practical component. For the practical component or CA
demonstration the group was subdivided into Turkey 1 and Turkey 2. The CA farmer level experimentation
demonstrations were done atMr Mogote’shomestead inTurkey 1 and Sarah Madore’shomestead inTurkey
Topics covered in the presentation include: Principles of CA, different planting options and planters,
farmer level experimentation and layout of CA trials, intercropping examples, reduction in runoff, cover
crop options (summer and winter combinations and a Bergville case study for Phumelele Hlongwane).
This led to a discussion within the group about the cover crops such as sunflower. Participants have
planted sunflower before, but have reduced this now as they are nolonger really rearing chickens. They
are aware that sunflower can thrive under hot and dry conditions and grows better than maize under
these circumstances and also that close spacing is possible.
They wanted to know whether they could grow sunflower at scale and wanted to know whether there
were markets for this crop and what price they could obtain. MrMagobatloucontinued that the
introduction of the animal drawn planter for planting using donkeys in previous seasons gave them hope
that we wold assist them to plan larger areas. The facilitators had to re-iterate that we do not provide
inputs and ploughing support and that the focus is on trying out different techniques that farmers have to
take to scale if they can and want to. The issue of lack of soil fertility and bad soil structure in the larger
fields was discussed. Participants are aware that there are issues and that it could take some time to
rectify these situations for improved production at field scale level. They want to do this as they feel that
growing maize in their homestead plots is too little for milling and food security and they eat that maize
mostly as green mealies.
Further, participants were a little sceptical of mulching as an option and felt that maize might struggle to
germinate through the mulch. It was explained that the actual planting holes/stations are not covered
with mulch, so that should not be an issue.
Weeding was discussed. Common weeds are blackjack and nutgrass. Participants couldn’t imagine how
mulch would stop the tall weeds from growing. It was explained that mulching stops the weeds from
germinating and will not stop them once they are growing.
Feedback from previous CA trials:
Mr Mogofe; “From what we were taught last year I went and tried and I realised that the
moisture lasts longer in the CA plot compared to the normal plot
Sarah Madire added that with addition of manure and leaving soil cover, even the colour of the
soil is starting tochange “this could indicate that with time yes this can help improve our soil”
Some participants felt that they could see some improvement in the CA trials form last season,
but not that much.There washowevera realisation amongst participants that CA is a long-term
strategy and if will take a while before they realise some of the benefits (e.g. improvement in soil
structure) of CA.
Reflection (participants understanding of CA after the presentation of CA and cover crops):
CA is about building the soilwhich will hold water like a sponge
CA as a practice to increase species diversity in soil, thus improving the soil heath.
We should not disturb the soil (ensuring our soil becomes a conducive habitat for soil
Mulching (cover crops helpincrease availability of mulching material)
This is planting in a way of nature
They would need to make some adjustments in how they do their cropping;
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odividing their fields into two parts (garden area) and (field cropping area)and
ominimising orstopping burning of dry weeds and crop residues, even though this is tricky
as the crop residues take some time to break down in the soil and snakes can hide in this
mulch and make it unsafe for children to play there.
A wish list going forward (with CA):
To try planters that are more appropriate at a large scale
Research the possibility of us being able to grow sunflower and selling it in the market
You keep showing us examples of CA from other places, is it because you do not have local
examples (put together pictures of how CA has done locally, that can also be a good information
sharing process)
CA Demonstration at Sara Madire’s homestead (Turkey 1)
Sara had already planted mostof herfieldand we worked in her sister’s yard for the CA demonstration.
This site is used for field cropping not much gardening. Sara’s children had removed the weeds from a
large part of this field with hand hoe and have allowed the weeds to dry and they burnt them. Luckily,
there was a patch that was left, which we used for the CA demo.
We demonstrated how to grow maize with cover crops (was four lines of maize and four lines of cover crop
mix (millet/babala, sun hemp and sunflower) and how to grow maize and beans / cowpea. We started by
showing participants how to make templates for planting (to demarcate the spacing for maize at 50 cm
apart) and (for beans at 25 cm apart). This template is also useful for helping famers plant in a straight
Figure 19: Above left a diagram developed for the layout and spacing and Above right, developing the template for
Figure 20: Above left making the pits along the template lines and Above right placing manure and seed in each
planting basin
The basins are made so that there is still a hollow in the ground after the manure and seed have been
added, to allow for extra collection of rainwater. A portion of the planted area was mulched to provide
for some soil cover to reduce weeds and also increase water holding in the soil
Figure 2: Turkey 1 participants planting a CA
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Figure 21: Right; mulching a portion of the CA demonstration plot
CA Demonstration Mr Mogofe’s homestead at Turkey 2
A similar process as above was followed in Turkey 2, below are photos of
taken at CA demo in Turkey 2
Figure 22: Below left; Template for planting, Centre, digging the planting basins
and right; sowing in the cover crops in the rows that were opened for these
Review of the planting process:
CA is still be praised for it easy of operation or implementation, even though those with large
fields feel more appropriate no till planters should be introduced
Making the template was easy and it made the job a lot easier
Overall, we loved how the layout made with seed on paper, I don’t think I can forget this in Turkey
Sarah Madire
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For Sarah’s CA trial plot, maize was planted first using spacing of 30 cm andgroundnutsand summer cover
crops (sun hemp, millet
and sunflower) were
planted after further
rainfall, about 3-4 weeks
later.Due to the difficult
weather conditions her
maize hasnot done well.
But the other crops have
grown very well.
Figure 23:Clockwise: Sarah’s
cover crops growing well,
with some maize that
survived the hot and dry
conditions; he
groundnuts and her
compost heaps,
made close to her
bananacircles for
shade and moisture
Sarah makes her
own compostusing
grass residues and
other organic
VENUE: Sports stadium(see picture on the
AIM: Review of CA principles and practice to
date and planning for the present season
The aim of the workshop was to improve
farmers’ understanding of conservation
agriculture (minimum soil disturbance, soil
cover and mixed cropping) with more
emphasis on cover crops.
The workshop started a bit late,as participants needed to first complete applications for subsidies on
electricity from the municipality (this took place at the same venue where we held the workshop). This
somehow shows that venues like a stadium are not ideal for these workshops.
Status of field cropping in the village
Participants had questions which mostly related to pest control in field cropping systems, as the changes
in weather patterns and extreme heat has led to massive pest outbreaks in their crops.The only crop
which was not affected is watermelon. A few people managed to harvest watermelonslast season. These
are sold at a price ranging from R 10to R40per watermelon depending on the size.
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Participants’ favourite crops are maize, groundnut, dithotse(jugo beans), pumpkin/ butternuts,
watermelons, cowpeaandsugar beans.They felt that they would continue to grow a combination of
crops, even in these difficult weather conditions as some of the crops at least are likely to survive and
produce a harvest.They felt also that they could adjust their planting dates as they have noticed in
previous seasons that some people who planted at different times managed to get reasonable harvests.
Irrigation is not really an option, especially at household level where participantspay R 35for a 210 L of
Recently, they have discovered a local market for sorghum; those who make traditional beer prefer to use
sorghum instead of maize.This has increased the interest in growing sorghum, despite the difficulty of
birds attacking the seed heads. According to them, they can cover each seed head with a small piece of
netting to reduce this predation. They charge R140/ 20l bucket of sorghum, which is about r3000/ ton,
which is a much better price than they would get for maize which is only around R1400/ ton
They also requested bird resistant seed. They mentioned that it is very difficult to find sorghum seed and
impossible to get bird resistant seed.
Introduction to CA
We presented CA and cover crops (in their role
in CA) using printed slides and recorded the
response of the participants on the flipchart.
Figure 24: Sylvester going through the CA
presentation with Willows participants.
Comments from participants:
Use of picture on the slides help participants visualise what was being taught
Maybe you should make note of the flipchart in Sepedi to allow us to also take notes
Again, for those who had attended workshops on CA before, they didn’t internalise the principles well.
The issue of weeds in this system was raised.
Options for dealing with weeds under CA:
Weed the plot before planting (in a way that does not disturb the soil too much), this can be done
with a hand hoe or a spade
Use mulch after planting to suppress the weeds
Participants with larger fields felt that they could not use these practices. It was however emphasised
that CA is practices on very large fields and the mulching component is managed through keeping the crop
residue as stover on the fields. Weeding needs to be managed on any size plot.
They also questioned why Government is still ploughing fields for people if this is the new way of farming.
Participants’ comments of cover crops:
Sunflower performs well under high temperatures. Farmers would like to know whether there is a
market or them for sunflowers. Sunflower is usually fed to chickens, butparticipants don’t feelit
is worth growing if that’s all they can do with it
With maize we have agreements with shops where we give them maize grain and pay a small
amount then we get maize meal at a very low cost
Lablab is known amongst the participants, its tender leaves are harvested, cooked and served with
pap. Some eat the seed (boiled), but Mrs Mohlala said her children won’t eatthis anymore. It is
usually grown next to the fence so it can climbonto the fence, never in the middle of the plot or
garden. The Pedi name of lablab is “Dikolokoto”.
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Planting of experimental plots
We subdivided the group into three smaller groups based on how close they lived next to each other. The
groups are as follows
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Phinious Pako
Maria Rapatsa
Abita Shai
Marks Malapane
Angelina Thekwane
Lucy Donka
Amos Mohlala
Aniki Sebashe
Melida Shai
Tomson Motseo
Reachelle Morapo
Kgaogelo Mahlako
We started doing demonstrations with group 2, at Maria Rapatsa’s homestead, all these participants have
only hard of CA on the day of the workshop. Due limited space in the yard we focused on a maize and
bean intercropped plot and also construction of a diversion ditch to reduce erosion and increase water
There were traces of erosion in the
field. Maria made a ridge to control
the water, we worked on the ridge and
planted below it and talked about
better way to make ridges, diversion
furrows and stone lines.
Figure 25: Working on CA demonstration
and the diversion ditch in Maria’s field.
Comments from new participants on
the CA demonstration process:
This is the easiest way to plant (ifI used this method from the beginning, I would have finished
planting the whole yard in less than 2 days).
Maria Rapatsa; “It really does not feel like we are planting is as if we are playing “Aniki Sebashe
Participants praised the CA as a method which requires less labour and also as a method that saves
They also admitted to not being used to leaving plant residue as soil cover, Maria had a pile of dry
grass or weeds shehad takenfrom the plot she planted a week earlier, which she was about to burn.
We used this material as mulch after planting the CA trail.They felt that this looks untidy and
though they understand the reasoning, it is going to take them a while to get used to it.
Participants felt that the spacing between the beans was too narrow and thought there will
competition. It was suggested that this is one of the aspects they should observe in their CA
experimentation plots, rather than deciding beforehand not to do it.
They were worried that it was too dry and there was no sign of rain. As a consequence, only half
the plot was planted to maize and cover crops. The rest was left for a later date (after some rain),
to compare the effect of different planting times. we planted half of the plot and showed them how
to plant cover crops.
For group 3, the CA experimentation demonstration was conducted at Abita Shai’s
homestead.She had already planted maize, butternut and maraca(Gourd see photo
on the right)). For the experiment we planted maize with the same thing she had
planted to see how the two perform under CA compared to their normal planting
They commented that “It seemed easier when we were planting, but know that I am
thinking about it is not that easy to remember“As a consequence, they decided to
work together as a group and help each other to plant.
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Figure 26: Right; Abita Shai
drawing out the layout of the
CA plot and far right; Betty
assisting the small group with
the planting process.
NOTE: Planting into a stand
of weeds as seen here is in
fact not recommended as
good practice within CA. the
weeds will easily out
compete the crops.
For group 1, the
demonstration was done at
Mr Mogofe’s homestead.
Mr Mogofe’s field is used for vegetable gardening (tomatoes, spinach,
onions and green paper) in winter and for field cropping (maize and
cowpeas) in summer. He has access to water for irrigation (private
borehole) and has installed a homemade drip irrigation system. The
drip irrigation was used to water the vegetables in winter, he has left
it in the field and is using it to irrigate the maize. There is a lot of
compaction on the soil. He has planted maize on half of this field and
left the other half to do a CA trail on it. Both the maize under CA and
normal planting method will be irrigated using a drip irrigation
Figure 27: Mr Mogofe drawing out the layout of the CA trial plot in his
homestead. CA implementation in Willows
Mr Mogofe
He planted maize and dry beans. Beans germinated very well after it
rained but died as the heat continued to be extreme during December and January. Only maize survived
but growth has been very
disappointing, regardless of
the drip irrigation he
practiced. The soil in his yard
is extremely compacted with
very low levels of organic
matter. He also did not add
any organic matter or manure
prior to planting.
Figure 28: Right; shows the
surviving maize after beans died
back. This clearly indicates the
need for improving soil fertility
and soil health in this plot.
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Abitha Ramoshaba
She is a new entrant into the CA
experimentation. Nothing germinated in
her plots, except for a small patch of
summer cover crops.
Figure 29: Right; A small patch of summer
cover crops growing in Abithas otherwise
empty yard, dueto zero germination of crops.
A similar situation was found for Maria
Rapatse, whose beans and cowpeas did not
germinate and maize growth has been very
bad, likely leading to zero harvests.
Figure 30: Maria’s field showing lack of growth
as well as exposed, compacted and low fertility
Angelina Thekwane
Angelina provides supplementary irrigation for her crops, using municipal water. This is her first season
experimenting with CA. Her maizegrew very wellbut thecowpeas didn’t even germinate. She then
plantedgroundnuts in their stead. She findsCA to be agoodideaand it is easy to implement and she
believes that the situation
would be much improved
with better rains.
Figure 31: Left Angelina’s
maize and summer cover
crops intercrop growing
remarkably well; Centre
holding a maize cob and
Right; a root ball for one of
the maize plants This
indicates compacted low
.’ notes on the CA learning process:
For this season 44 participants volunteered to do the CA implementation process. Overall only 10 of 35
participantswhoplanted their CA experimentation plots, realized any growth and yields. This was due in
part, to the weather conditions as rainfall did not continue into December. Instead, after initial rainfall
dry hot conditions continued throughout the whole of January. This meant that the legumes (cowpeas and
beans) germinated but died back soon afterwards. Maize as well did not survive well. The cover crops
however; millet, sun hempand sunflowers, as well as the Lablab beans grew surprisingly well under these
difficult conditions.The other major contributing factor is the compaction of the soil and extremely low
| 38
levels of organic matter, exacerbated by the localpractice of not adding manure or compost when
A small number of participants who managed to get harvests practices supplementary irrigation. Some
participants decided against planting maize, given the bad track record for this crop in the last few years.
One such participant isMattshegoShaai from Turkey. She planted only legumes; groundnuts and jugo
beans for a second season
in a row. She has found
these crops survive better
and also provide for better
soil moisture due to their
canopy, as well as reduced
erosion in her plot.
Figure 32: MattshegoShuai’s
field planted to ground nuts
and jugo beans, which she
sells in the community.
Silence Malaspinain
Willows followed the same
practice. He planted these legumes in basins and in ridges and furrows. He felt that he did not understand
the concept of CA well and that the compaction of soil, along with uncovered soil is a problem under the
present conditions. This can be considered a local adaptation and is important to note.
Some further points are the following:
The concept of CA is knowledge intensive and difficult to convey in one learning session,
especially linked to deeply entrenched habits that work in opposition to the principles; such as
clearing and burning of weeds, wide spacing and the like
It would be ideal to be able to run workshops through the whole cropping season to make
observations and deepen the learning
Because the innovation system approach to learning relies on positive results from the farmer
level experimentation, seasons such as the present one, where hot and dry conditions has
seriously hampered germination and growth, tend to be difficult for introduction of a new
practice. Farmers associate the lack of results with the practice, rather than the season. It can be
almost impossible to disentangle different factors, such as lack of soil fertility on the performance
of the trials as well. It is thus common to have very variable results within a group, with some
participants faring reasonably well and other failing completely. Under such conditions, uptake of
these practices tends to be low.
Participants somehow believe that this method cannot be used on larger fields as they have now
got into the habit of believing this is only possible with tractors and with assistance provided in
provision of seed. The concept of manual weeding is one they are not prepared to consider.
The habit of planting without any addition of soil nutrients or manure is a very common practice in
the area and for us a big problem in terms of improved yields. It is however, extremely difficult to
persuade participants to collect and use manure. Any have no access and would need to buy this
from people who do, which is a constraint.
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Organic vegetable production and
marketinghas been continued since early January, withthe most
successful being the Hlokomela WellnessWednesday market and
selling a Lebamba supermarket. Some farmersplanted spinach
and beetroot for December and sold the produce locally, while
others lost everything due to the extreme heat. This has meant
that only around 4-6 farmers have continued with the marketing
Figure 33: The first customer in January
20202 at Hlokomela bought all the “morogo’
on the table sold
Farmers have beenselling the following
produce since January;
1.Morogo (pumpkin leaves)
3.Flat leaf and curly leaf parsley
6.Lemon grass
8.Coriander and rocket seeds
9.Moringa Powder
10.Chilli powder
Table 6: Farmers participating in the marketing and incomes generated for January 2020
Unit of
Price for
Unit sold
Total income
Mpelesi Sekgobela
Chilli powder
R 50.00
Curly leaf parsley
R 120.00
Flat leaf parsley
R 165.00
R 240.00
R 60.00
Triphina Malepe
Flat leaf parsley
Christina Thobejane
R 1250.00
R 90.00
R 105,00
Morogo (pumpkin
R 210,00
Mmatshego Shaai
Mustard spinach
R 225,00
R 195,00
R 90,00
R 225,00
Table 7: Farmers participating in the marketing and incomes generated for February 2020
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From the beginning of March,
farmers started concentrating on
finishing the water project by end of
March so they can have water when
they start planting winter crops.
They stopped participating in their
Figure 34: Produce being sold at
Hlokomela during February 2020
A small workshop was held in
Turkey, to discuss greater
involvement in this marketgoing into the future.
Presently smallholders can sell through the following avenues:
-Hoedspruit farmers market
-Hlokomela Wellness Wednesday
-Health shop
-Wholesales/grocery store (Lebamba and Pick n Pay)
These markets are still quite small and underdeveloped and there are times when produce is required and
farmers don’t have the requested crops and other times that farmers wish to sell a crop that is not wanted
in the market. This is considered to be an integral part of the development of a market, as the buyers and
sellers develop systems that work for both parties.
Farmers thoughts on this included the following:
Norah Tshetlha has been selling mustard spinach and Swiss chard spinach locally. She used to
deliver every Wednesday at a day care centre locally. She also sold at available markets in
Hoedspruit where Bettywould assist. To her understanding available markets don’t have many
consumers, it’s a market trying to establish. She won’t say she gave up on the markets but she had
no water for irrigation and had to decrease the size of her garden, which led her not participating
anymore at the market.
Unit of
Price for
Unit sold
Total income
Mpelesi Sekgobela
Chilli powder
R 60.00
Curly leaf parsley
R 150.00
Flat leaf parsley
R 120.00
R 225.00
R 60.00
Triphina Malepe
Flat leaf parsley
R 120.00
Christina Thobejane
R 1000.00
R 150.00
R 300.00
Morogo (pumpkin
Mmatshego Shaai
Cherry tomatoes
R 150.00
R 150.00
R 135.00
R 225.00
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Isaac Malatji: The markets are not strong according to his observation. The other thing he noticed
is that farmers are not ready for the market, reason being he once witnessed a situation where
Christina had to call farmers to bring their produce on the day of delivery and had to fetch the
produce herself; this is an indication of farmers who are not ready/sure what they want.
Sarah Mohlala: She normally sells her spinach locally at church every Sunday. She only sold basil at
Hoedspruit market and everything was sold out. She stopped sending produce due to lack of water
for irrigation.
Elizabeth Mokgatla: She never sold anything at Hoedspruit market. She normally plants produce
for household consumption, but she thinks thatfarmers who are planting for both selling and
consumption should try by all means to keep the market growing and stop giving up when things
are going slowly, as nothing starts on fast speed. Consumers must know that there are farmers
from Turkey and they will find them through certain markets.
Sarah Madire: She sold different kinds of produce, onions, Swiss chard spinach, kale, beetroot,
spring onionsat the markets. She also sells locally. If it wasn’t for farming and selling, she would
now be starving, as she depends only on an old age grant and she is the head of the house.
Challenges were summarised as:
Water shortages to maintain and expand gardens and production. Now that the water committee
has worked together to get access to more water through the borehole, it will be easier to plan
and grow enough produce.
Some farmers felt that the logistics of deciding what to grow and how much of it and then
harvesting and delivery to the central point was too problematic.
Way forward:
Freddy Mankgele: If farmers give up, we will lose all markets established. Wehave to work hard to
grow the market and not be afraid to lose, because losing is the reason farmers are not even
trying to participate.
Nora Tshetlha: All farmers have to participate so as to keep the market growing. We can all add
oursmallquantities ofproduce together to meet orders placed. This will also give all farmers an
opportunity to join Betty and see how things work and meet the consumers.
5.2Mango production and marketing
A small group of farmers; Lina Malepe and Christinah Thobejanejoined Betty for a visit and tour of the M-
PaK facility(for drying and processing of mangoes)and to discuss their involvement in this market. Both
ladies also delivered some mangoes and went home well satisfied. They received a cash payment of
R4.51/kg of mangoes.
An agreement has been reached with Mr Flip Nel from M-Pak that he will support smallholders by buying
any quantities they can deliver to him, however small and will continue to do so as the smallholders
expand their production abilities. To this end, learning groups were consulted and farmers have
undertaken to buy in more trees of the required varieties; Kent, Keit, Tommy Atkin and Shelley. The
‘wild’ mangoes grown more commonly; namely the fish and peach mangoes as they are called, are not
appropriate for drying as they contain a lot of fibre. Participants were also shown how to grade and pick
their fruit; as these need to be quite green for this market.
A list of 146 trees has been compiled; on the understanding that MDF will assist with the order.
Participants are to pay in R20/ tree as their contribution.
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In addition, Erna has been negotiating with the Nova Institute to put together a joint proposal to AgriSA
for development of this market on a larger scale.
A summary narrative for this
intervention is included here, as the
work, although not funded by the
RWP, has taken some time and effort
from learning groups that are part of the
process. It provides a learning
process and pilot for potentially
expanding this kind of activity with the
The learning group members had to
learn a substantial number of new
things, both technical and also in how to work together and make joint decisions that can be accepted and
implemented by all group members.
Initial meetings and locations for boreholes
Initially meetings were held with the 2 water committees representing 4 learning groups across 4 villages
to discuss with them how the process could be undertaken and work through some of the logistical and
financial details. Participants were given the task of lookingfor possible locations that have good ground
water retentionpotential, to be surveyed and to also look for drilling companies that have worked in their
villages, that they trust.The groups also finalised participants to be involved and their financial and
labour contributions to this project.
Participants from each village chose two to three possible locations to be surveyed as a starting point.
RaymondVonk from Georay geophysical services and his assistant undertook the surveys using a process
that incorporates bothvertical electrical sounding and horizontal profiling activities. These tools provide
the depth and thickness of various subsurface layers and their relative water yield capacity.
They started working at Turkey 1 accompanied by Isaac Malatji, Sarah Mohlala, Nkurwane Shaai and
Elizabeth Mokgatla and Betty. Raymond moved along the most plausible lines form the positions
suggested and the best option for drilling was calculated from there. Private property such as orchards
and existing unutilised boreholes as well as other obstacles were taken into account. He also surveyed
three suggested locations at Sedawa.
Figure 35: Left a view of rock and pebble formations typical of an area where subsurface water is flowing and Right;
Raymond surveying at Turkey 1
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Choosing of location for borehole drilling by Participants
The process of choosing the right location was difficult. From the options provided, participants had to
consider distances between the borehole and their homesteads, options for where the header tank would
be and where the mainline pipes would go. Some conflict arose due to a lack of trust and some
participants initially refusing to accept and discuss these challenges objectively.
It took a few meetings and alot of discussion to make these decisions, after which Betty used a cell phone
app known as Maverick to survey the GPS coordinates of each household This was in order to map (using
Google Earth) out the participants’ receptive distances heights to design the best possible system within
the given constraints of topography and budget.
The maps assisted in outlining the quantity and types of pipe used and
also clarified that some participants were too far away or at a much
higher elevation than could be serviced by the process.
Further negotiation was required, which saw the removal of piping to
irrigate fields these were all over 1km away and participants did not
foresee themselves being able to afford and install their own piping.
For those few households that fell above the header tank,
arrangements were made to provide tanks for them at a household
The drilling company that participants preferred was not immediately
available and eventually everyone agreed on Mr Stimie’s
recommendation; Afrisolutions from Tzaneen, who were already
working in the area and have experience installing community-based
infrastructure. There was a lot of debate about the reliability of
drilling companies.
Figure 36; Right: Core samples taken during the drilling process. These
pictures were sent to Mr Vonk to establish decisions about continuing or
stopping drilling based on the structure and consistency of these samples
Figure 37: Left; The drilling machine and Right: water starting to come out during the drilling process.
Only 2 of the 4 proposed boreholes drilled were successful. The one was completely dry and the other
yielded so little water as to be completely impracticable. The successful boreholes yielded around 14000l/hr
(Sedawa 1) and 500l/hr (Turkey 2) respectively.
Designing and mapping the mainline pipe lines
Mr Alain Marechaltookover this responsibility and worked closely with Betty to fine tune and finalize the
maps. These were discussed and negotiated with the water committee groups repeatedly until everyone
| 44
was in agreement. The maps also indicted the size of pipes and the different connectors needed. Pipe sizes
differ to ensure even pressure within the system and a reasonably even supply of water to all households.
Below is a section of the Sedawa pipeline outlining the different pipe sizes in different colours and also
where the pipelines had to cross paved roads.
Figure 38; Map of a section of the Sedawa pipeline outlining the different pipe sizes in different colours.
Figure 39; Map of a section of the Turkey 2 pipeline with the different pipe sizes indicated in different colours.
Decision making with MDF and the participants
Once the boreholes were drilled a number of decisions needed to be made, including the best use of
available budget, whether to proceed with the two working boreholes and how to accommodate those
participants who live in the two villages wherethe boreholes drilled came up empty.
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Firstly, we discussed the process of borehole drilling, how much was used and how much we are left with
on the budget. Some suggestions here included that further sites be surveyed and drilled in the two
villages without water so that all four should end up with a borehole and then to find further funding to
develop these boreholes later. It had to be explained to participants that project budgets could not so
wholly be diverted from the purposes they were proposed for. It was thus
decided to continue with the two boreholes and support the villages without
boreholes by providing 15 x 2500 L Jo-jo tanks for participants in Turkey 1.
For Sedawa 2 the 3 participants suggested that a 4500L Jo-jo tank be placed
in the system for them closest to their homesteads and they would arrange
between themselves to fetch the water from there. MDF also undertook to
search for further funding opportunities in the future.
Participants also decided on where to place the electric box
for the boreholes
and who will
be in charge
of pumping
Figure 40: Above left; Jo-jo tanks delivered in Turkey 1 and Above right; installed at Elias Mogofe’s homestead in
turkey 1. He built a nice plinth for the tank, as all participants were urged to do.
Continuing with installation of pumps and header tanks
Afrisolutions then continued with the process of installing PVC casings, pressure pumps, lockboxesand
electric cablingforboth boreholes, as well as the piping, valves and stands required for the installation of
these tanks.
Figure 41: Below left; lock box for Turkey, Below centre;
lock box for Sedawa and Below right; Controlling valve
for the pump inside thelock box.
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Afrisolutions hired three participants (decided upon in their groups) to dig the trenches to take cabling to
the households which would manage the electricity supply. Mr David van Wyk from Afrisolutions worked
with the two teams of participants in Turkey and Sedawa. He found that the borehole in Sedawa had
partially collapsed, since being
drilled a month earlier and this
required it being ‘blown out’ again,
which delayed activities in Sedawa a
Figure 42:Right; Electricity supply in
Sedawa showing the cable and plug for
the borehole pump and Far right; the
cable in Turkey which was linked into the
electricity box with a switch.
Planning the digging of the main pipeline trenches
The delivery of the pipes and fittings were somewhat delayed, as the cheapest supplier still had to
manufacture some of the piping; a small detail that was not communicated to the team prior to payment.
In the meantime, Erna, Alain and Betty worked with the two water committees to understand the maps
and then do walks to stake out the different sections of pipe, where the pipe sizes changed, which fittings
to use and where the pipes would cross
paved roads.
Figure 43: Erna and Alain working with the
Turkey committee to explain the pipeline on
their map
Alain also worked with the committee
members to ensure that they understood
how the fittings worked, what the reducer
couplings looked like and how to install
them. People were confident that they
knew how to do this themselves.
These crossings were a cause for concern, but the
water committee members felt that they could easily
get permission from their traditional authorities. In
Sedawa, the process of approval and installing pipes
below the paving, and replacing paving thereafter
worked smoothly. In Turkey however local residents
stopped work on the day after approval by the
traditional authority and insisted instead on having a
cement speed-hump on top of the paving, with the
pipes inside the structure encased in a steel sleeve.
They were determined that they did not trust the
water committee or the implementer to restore the
road to its original state after laying the pipe. Alain
and Betty worked closely with David during this time,
as frustrations ran high and Afrisolutions threatened
to leave until a later date.
Figure 44: David from Afrisolutions working with Alain to
site and measure the paved road crossings in Sedawa, of
which there were two
At the same time Afrisolutions was installing main tank stands before connecting the jo-jo tank to the
boreholes.Again, some discussion was required as participants had envisaged much higher stands and felt
that the 1m high stands would not allow for proper emptying of their header tanks. Betty and Alain
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needed to re explain how the heights and pressures were calculated and the reason for choosing these
lower and cheaper stands.
Participantstook it upon themselvesto digthemainline trenchesfrom the borehole to the header tank,
so that they couldconnect the pipes when they arrive. It was very difficult for participantsfrom Sedawa
to cooperate with each other and dig the trenches. Someparticipantsdidn’t come and work on the
trenchesand they all managed to convince themselves that the soil was too hard and rocky to dig. The
local facilitator, Christinah Thobejane requested assistance from the municipality with digging trenches
using a TLB, but was told that the TLB is occupied with a sanitation project. Participants held meeting
after meeting discussing the way forward. They then made a decision that they would each dig 20m of
trenchand that each person’s section wold be numbered, so that everyone knew which section they were
meant to dig.Most of the participants adhered to the decisions taken, but still there were a few who did
not. Participants again made more rules, where fines ofR350,00 were instituted and a threat thattheir
pipes wouldnot be connected till they pay the fine. Participants started with the trenches.
Figure 45: Above left; One of the Sedawa group meetings to thrash out how the main trench would be dug and Above
right; measuring a rope to stake out each person’s 20 m section
Figure 46: Right; Digging the main
trench to the header tank in Sedawa;
Centre; Alain working with Alex and
Magale in Sedawa to stake the
crossings and Far right: Digging the
main trench to the header tank in
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Afrisolutions also connected pipes to the header tanks both at Turkey and Sedawa, once they arrived and
tested the systems by pumping water into these tanks.
Figure 47: Above left; The header tanks (4500 L each) fully functional and tested at Turkey (Michael Makgobatlou)
and Above left at Sedawa (Joyce Seotlo)
There is however a slight problem with the header tank at Sedawa, where the stand is slowly collapsing.
Afrisolutions has undertaken to replace this stand at their own cost and this will be ensured by the MDF
Laying the pipes from the header tanks to the homesteads
Delivery of piping was done in both villages and participants started on digging their trenches around the
last week of February.
Figure 48: Above; Piping and fittings delivered in Sedawa
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Figure 49: Above; Piping and fittings delivered in Turkey
Participants from Turkey also worked on their trenches from the borehole to households, after marking
the positionswhere the pipesizeswill be change, from the borehole to their households. After pipes
were delivered, they started connecting the pipes and closing the trenches with the help of Betty and
Jessica from MDF. Afrisolutions inthe meantime were installing the speed- hump to cross the main road to
connect the pipes from
the borehole to the main
jo-jo tank.
Figure 50: Right: The sketch
for speed hump
construction provided to
Afrisolutions by Alain and
Far Right; the speed hump
being constructed
After the speed hump
construction, community
members were still not pleased, deciding that the was too steep and rounded. After much negotiation, in
which the traditional council was not very helpful at all, Mr Malatji eventually agreed to use some of the
funds collected by the group to acquire more cement and the group helped to even out the hump to the
grumblers’ satisfaction.
At Sedawa the crossings were done differently; three crossings were done on the paved road sections,
where the paving was removed the steel sleeve and pipes were buried and the pavement was carefully
replaced.This was done without incident and the crossings now are all but invisible.
Figure 51: Above left: The final speed hump crossing in Turkey and Above right; one of the crossings under the paving
being done in Sedawa
Connection of pipes in Turkey
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Participantsthought it would be asimple job andthatthey could do this without the help of the engineer.
The encountered a number of challenges but Betty assisted the group, with constant advice and pointers
being provided telephonically by Alain.
During the process it became clear to the group that if they wanted to divide the participants into two
sections, who received water on alternate days, as they decided to do, then further valves would be
required to close off one section and open the other. These were then installed in the lines.It took
participants five days to install all the pipes and fix the speed-hump. Below is a picture of one of the
connections and the drawings provided by Alain to facilitate the process.
Connection of pipes in Sedawa
Sedawa participants found it difficult to dig the trenches from the borehole to their households,due to
the hard, rocky soil. They waited for a few weeks hoping to have a TLB from the Municipality to undertake
this process.The process of allocating a section of the trench to each participant was used again, but on
the day of laying the pipe some members had still not done this; so it took more time as the group then
decided to do these sections together and deal with those individuals who did not dig their sections later.
These participants also thought it would be easy to install all the pipes, but found the actual
implementation quite challenging. Below are the drawings and an example of the household connector
valve for Sedawa.
The pictures below provide some indication of the work and process in Sedawa.
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Figure 52:Clockwise from Top
left; A homestead connection into
the main pipeline, digging out the
trenches using picks and laying a
pipe into one of the trenches
5.4Networking and stakeholder engagement
PGS workshop
This workshop, arranged and held jointly withAWARD(Supported by USAID and DKA Austria) aimed to
introduce a number of concepts and processes around enterprise development and marketing to the Lower
Olifants’ farmers network. The outline for the workshops is presented below:
AGENDA:Participatory Guaranteed System workshop
DATE: 2/25/2020TIME: 08:30- 16:30
ATTENDEES:By invitation (NGOS, Government Department, Maruleng Municipality, Small-holder
farmers, Donor organisations/funding partners)
Strengthen collaboration and networking between farmers and other local role players
around organic produce network, foodsecurity, agroecology and climate change
Introduce small-holder farmers to organic producer’s network, SAOSA and PGSSA (PGS
Explore the impact that farmer’s network in Agriculture Support Initiative (AgriSI) is
having on the livesof smallholder farmers within the Olifants Catchment of the Limpopo
Introduce small-holder farmers to local savings and enterprise development linked to CCA
and climate resilient agriculture (CRA)
Task/ Discussion
Arrival, registration and opening
8:00 -9:00
Introduction (new farmers and old farmers) and
Per village; Purpose of the workshop
BB, Derrick, Erna
9:00 9:30
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1.Why network for farmers?
2.Benefits of networks
3.Experiences from the past(Farmers talk cards)
4.What are challenges in a network?
5.What makes a good network?
Network options (What are the options in networks,
examples co-ops, boards, informal and self-
Derrick, Betty
Organic producer’s network- SAOSO, PGS
PGS Hoedspruit (introduce farmers to PGS Hoedspruit
What PGS Hoedspruit supports (seeds, compost,
beauty & vegetables/fruits)
Requirements for belonging to PGS (for farmers to
part of the network)
Who is interested in joining PGS?
oAre you interested in something like this?
What are the concerns?
oTraining? Further interest
Betty, (list, villages,
Market (farmers share experience of the market;
Hoedspruit farmers market, Hlokomela Wellness
Wednesday market)
What are the markets available?
From the Region for the Region, Chamber of
Betty, Erna (PP
presentations) Slides pics
Itumeleng From the
Region for Region (FRF)
13h:00 -
What are the experiences?
Introduction to Savings and business enterprises
Nqe, Betty
Summary and reflection
oWhat did you learn?
16:00 -16:20
Closing Remarks and Way forward
ATTENDANCE:75 participants from Sedawa, Turkey, Santeng, Willows, Madeira, Worcester,and Mametja,
K2C, Hoedspruit Hub, DKA, AWARD and MDF. discussion
Derick du Toit provided a background on networks. He defined networks as a way of bringing things
together so that they function better.Theintention is to build capacity and take action.It is about
creating interconnectedness;the skills of interacting, sharing, bargaining, and negotiation.
Comments from participants included that if they work together, they are stronger and can achieve things
that they cannot do as individuals. It helps people to be able to have a say,so that others cannot the
advantage of them. Here in Sedawa we have found that working together, through AWARD and MDF has
shown and taught us many things; producing organically, saving seedand accessing water. We have learnt
that if we have the energy to do things together, then organisations will have the energy to help us do
Dericksummarised that networking isabout working together to achieve things we cannot do separately.
There are different kindsof networksand different reasons for coming together; to learn new ideas, to
get access to services and support and for example like the K2C process “from the region for the region”
to produce and add value to produce new products to sell and also to do marketing together or save and
swap seeds.
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Small group discussion followed on people’s experiences with networking and what kinds of networks they
would find useful.
Some of the participants’ comments are summarised below:
Magdalena; we grew a lot of herbs and needed a market, then we networked with the Hoedspruit
Hub and for a period managed tofind a market for the herbs. People didn’t know how to use the
herbsat home
Nomsa; because of CC we have lost a lot of crops and seeds, but in our groups, we have now been
able to exchange seeds and find new crops
Malatji; We were lucky to set up a committee for getting water and then we applied for funding,
then some people got water and somedid not, but it is progress and now we can continue to go
Christina; We have seen the importance of MDF and AWARD in this village, we have underground
RWH tanks, using runoff water and since startingwe can pick vegetables form our own gardens,
sell and buy other food and this is from the learning network process. When we meet,we learn
about new things. We talk about the challengesin our gardens in the learning groups. The local
facilitators should all know each other to continue the networking.
Matsatsi Ramoshaba: I planted tomatoes, but had not harvestdue to lack of water. Now it looks
like if I knew about this networking things could have beendifferent
Esinah: I have seen the importance of being in the group; now started having goats and chickens
in my household, which I did not have before and I am growing different kinds ofherbs, including
medicines. The only problem is lack of water
Thesegive us examples of creating networks for water supply, to solve problems in the production cycle,
dealing with CC and drought, changing cropping patters-confidence and support to try new things. makes a good network?
We must work on something in common, communication is very important, listen, trust each other, see
things, don’t hide stuffand be transparent.
Motseo: When people can agree on actions then they can move forward. There is an example of theLTGA
Limpopo tomato growers association(A provincial structure, government run), where farmers from
Willows, Finale and Lepellewere involved. We had meetings but there was not transparency,so although
it is still going many people are no longer involved.
This also gives an indication of the different kinds of networks there are; such as cooperatives,
government run networks and boards, water users’ associations which is a mixture of government and
private concerns, civil society networks such as church groups and stokvels and informal networks like the
learning groups. PGS process
This is a network under the SAOSO (South African Organic Sector Organisation) called the PGSSA
(Participatory guarantee system, South Africa). A chapter/ network has been set up here called the
Hoedspruit PGS. It isa peer run system for organic certification and ensuring quality of organic produce.
People voiced that they understand that rules for production are important and that these are kept. PGS
can assist in setting up and linking in to more formal markets.
ACTION: All groups were interested in a training session on PGS so as to be able to decide whether to
go with this marketing networking process marketing
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This was followed by a brief summary (Erna and Betty) on the organic and other marketing processes that
have been tried out and which are underway. They also introduced dried mango as a new alternative and
outlined the new relationship set up with M-Pak.Participants were urged to become involved and take
these processes seriously, as they are not easy to set up and maintain. Both Hoedspruit Hub and K2C
provided short inputs on marketing as well. to savings and enterprise development
Mr Nqe Dlamini from StratAct gave a presentation (Appendix 1attached separately) to outline the value of
local Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and how they work. He also emphasised how they build
on stokvels as an idea, but are safer because of the transparency built into the group processes. He
continued to outline the enterprise development learning process that will be undertaken by MDF.
ACTION: A schedule was developed for giving introductory workshops for VSLAs in five villages:
Sedawa, Willows, Turkey, Madeira and Worcesterbetween 26thto 28thof February.
Stakeholder engagement
The following meetings have been held: (Attendance registers are attached in Appendix 2.)
AWARD, MDF, Maruleng Municipality:This meeting started with a review of the PGS workshop
and a discussion of collaborative activities between MDF and AWARD. Bigboy Mkhabela from
AWARD is available for networking activities and will assist Betty in the PGS training sessions for
the learning groups He has already translated the PGS rules and forms into siPedi in preparation.
Inaddition, he is interested in being more closely involved in the savings groups training and
monitoring processes.
ACTION: A monthly workplan will be developed to coordinate these activities and include BB
into the planning process
Input was provided by Tsakani Tivani from the LED unit of the Maruleng Municipality. She
mentioned that this unit does not have funding specifically to support smallholders. They provide
support to the Department of Agriculture, which also sends through itswork programme to be
included in the IDP.
She asked some questions about the sustainability of organic production, markets, formalisation of
groups, the village-based savings and loan associations, safety of monies kept there. She suggested
a meeting with the Dept of Agric to explore options and overlaps. The unit’s input is limited to
heling to coordinate such meetings and also providing venues and some logistical support towards
community-based meetings.
Direct funding for water or other
requests cannot be considered. She
also advised that we would need to
involve the Departmentform the
beginning to set out a joint path,
otherwise they will not want to be
Figure 53: Tsakani from Maruleng Municipality
outlining the LED sections’ activities and role
Tedi Nqisi is the extension officer of
theDoA office close to Sekororo
(Oaks). They know what farmers needand Masaka Mbilo isbased at theMopani District DoA.
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ACTION: Day workshop with DoA to discuss collaboration through engagements with technicians
(Suggested by Tsakani) before inception of programmes
ACTION: (Tsakani) You should submit your projects to me to be put into the IDP (with project
description, duration & allocated budget)
CIRAD;Sent a small team (Stefano, Mark, Damien and Eric) of researchers and post graduate
students in the beginning of March for an exploratory visit to initiate a research process into
farmer level decision making and social agency. The purpose of this research was outlined as:
oAssess impact of our interventions on social capital (Trust, reciprocity, co-operation), to
ascertain whether there is greater social capital where we have worked. They would focus
on the young and old and gender and would compare “treated” villages with “un-treated”
A discussion was held around how to involve the learning group members and what kinds of
incentives for participation would be considered appropriate. This was followed by a workshop
with the learning group in Sedawa on 4thMarch. They were asked questions such as what they
learned from MDF and AWRD, how they have come together as a group, who is part of the group,
group rules, how their relationships have
been influenced by working with MDF and
AWARD and how they can tackle the water
Figure 54: A snapshot of the CIRAD workshop held in
Sedawa on 4thMarch.
Participants mentioned that the groups
have helped them to learn new things and
to tackle their farming and marketing
activitiestogether. They have built
stronger relationships and trust. They need
more assistance in terms of access to
CIRAD is to write up the outcomes and make a final decision in terms of their postgraduate
student involvement.
TheNova Institute: MDF have been liaising with members of this organisation (Attie van Niekerk
and Hendrik Smith) to develop a joint proposal for a full feasibility study to develop the
smallholder mango marketing chain in the area to be presented to AgriSA. A copy of this proposal
is available on request.
The Hoedspruit Hub:MDF has drawn in Anri and her team to provide dedicated organic mango
production training to 60 of our participants. This will take the form of 1day visits to the
participants’ orchards, to review present practices and provide advice, a one-day theory session at
the Hub including a visit to the Bavaria estates orchards and nurseries and a 1 day on site practical
training. The training will be provided for 30 participants at a time (thus two sessions). The
training is planned for end-April to early May.
TheHoedspruit PGS: Bimonthly meetings are held where members finalise the outstanding
certifications and discuss issues such as branding, future certifications, branding and the like.
Post lockdown:An essential cervices certificate was obtained from CIPCand MDF jointly wrote a
submission to the Minister of Agriculture (DARDLR) from the CS coalition(250 CSOs), with
endorsements from 60 organisations who are not presently members of this coalition. The
submission is attached in
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(MEL) plan
6.1Framework & indicators
Below is a summaryof implementation according to our indicators for Feb- April 2020
Overall target
Actual (Feb-April
No of participants in learning groups
No of learning groups
-No of local facilitators
Percentage of participants engaged in CC adaptation
1-2 (45%)
2-3 (25%)
>3 (10-15%)
No of participants experimenting with new
No of participants showing increased knowledge
Percentage of participants engaged in collaborative
activities (water committees), marketing)
Percentage of participants with improved livelihoods
-increased availability of food
-increased income
-increased diversity of activities and livelihoods
Qualitative assessments;
-stakeholder engagement
-Increased understanding and agency to act towards
increased resilience
- Adaptation and innovations into local context
-Potential for increased resilience
-Social engagement
Stories, case studies (5-
6), CC impact
summaries (4), best
practices booklet
7Work Plan for Milestone 3
Below a brief assessment of progress for each of the activitiesmentioned for the February -April workplan
is provided.
1.Set up learning groups and identify and
induct local facilitators for new villages
4 New learning groups set up;4 learning groups
Induction of new Local facilitators (NOT DONE)
2.Recap of agroecology/permaculture
training workshops for existing groups and
start on training for new groups; (garden
Training workshops (NOT DONE)
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layout, soil and water conservation, soil
fertility, bed design, mixed cropping,
shade cloth tunnel construction,
Quotes being prepared for tunnels and materials
to initiate this training as soon as possible in May
3.Continue and finalise an order list for new
mango varieties for participants to be
involved in organic marketing and drying
Quotes prepared and trees paid for
4.Continue with organic marketing initiative
with existing groups; Hlokomela Wellness
Wednesday and monthly farmers’ market
as well as ad hoc orders from restaurants
such as Amigos and Hat and Creek.
Ongoing; weekly sales.
Activity halted due to national lockdown.
5.Do VSLA training and initiate savings
groups in 5-6 villages. Monthly mentoring
during group saving meetings is to be
Activity halted due to national lockdown.
Introductory workshops were however held in 5
villages 9Willows, Sedawa, Santeng, Worcester
and Madeira)
6.Employ and induct a new intern to support
the process.
Jessica Mangena has been brought on board and is
fully active.
Water committees were assisted to finalise their
implementation of boreholes and household
reticulation for agriculture purposes.
7.1Work plan for May- July 2020.
MDF strongly believes that our presence in the villages where we work is crucial within thesedifficult and
uncertain times, both to continue and strengthen the agricultural work and food production of the
participating farmers and also to provide social support and commentary on the effects of COVID-19 and
South Africa’s national strategy.
We propose thus to continue activities, as responsibly as possible, within the strictures of present legal
and health directives. Large gatherings and cross visits will thereforebe put on hold for at least 4 months
and networking and communication through SMSand WhatsAppgroups will be given attention.
Below a brief work plan is presented:
1)Set up mango production training for 2 groups (30 each) in association with Hoedspruit Hub (May-June
2)Order and deliver mango trees according to list of trees and participants prepared (May 2020)
3)Finalise CA and field cropping monitoring for 35 participants across 4 villages
4)Set up learning groups and identify and induct local facilitators for new villages
5)Order materials and tunnels to support in the training and learning activities (May 2020)
6)Recap of agroecology/permaculture training workshops for existing groups and start on training for
new groups; (garden layout, soil and water conservation, soil fertility, bed design, mixed cropping,
shade cloth tunnel construction) (May- July 2020)
7)Do VSLA training for the 5 new savings groups set up in February 2020.Monthly mentoring during group
saving meetings is to be undertaken. (May- July 2020)
8)Initiate garden monitoring after training and learning sessions
9)Initiate beneficiary selection and training in construction of shade cloth tunnels (June 2020)
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8.1Appendix 2: Attendance registers for stakeholder
Meeting with CIRAD Experimental Economics
2nd – 3rdMarch 2020
AWARD and MDF:SharonPollard, Derickdu Toit, BigboyMkabela, Betty Maimela
CISAD: Stefano, Mark, Damien, Eric
POST GRADUTE STUDENTs UL:Eric and Asanda (students MSc and PhD, Erick likely to come)
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8.2Appendix 2: CSO submission re COVID-19 disaster
refiled support to smallholders
Submission to amend the COVID-19 Agricultural Disaster Relief procedures and criteria
for Small Farmers
On April 6, the Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development,Minister
Didiza, announced a R1,2 billion COVID-19 disaster relief fund for small-scale farmers. This is a recognition
of the crucial contribution of rural, urbanand peri-urban small-scale farmers to local food supply and why
they need agricultural inputs. The COVID-19 crisis comes on top of an extended and long-term drought in
many regionsof the country, which has severely compromised small-scale farmer production and who are
in desperate need of a kick-start to stimulate production. The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) thus all
welcome the Minister’s recognition of the need for relief and a number of them have beenattempting to
assist farmers to apply for themeasures.
However, it has become evident that the eligibility criteria, application process, time frames, the type and
source of support provided and the ring-fencing of 30% of the available fund for a particular group of often
better off farmers createsevere restrictions on who can apply. This will exclude the majority of farmers,
including those the relief is intended to support. Furthermore, it is apparent that the scope of support
envisaged by government excludes farmers and food producers, including urban and peri-urban producers,
whose contributions to food security are essential in these times of COVID-19 induced stress on our people,
our food production systems and our supply chains.
This submission is based on a broad-based consultation with approximately 60 CSOs providingdirect support
to small-scale farmers or research in support of small-scale producers and agricultural suppliers. The CSOs
involved in this disaster relief fund are already part of the C19 National Food Group (of which a smallholder
farmer sub-group hasbeen formed). Together, these groupings form the broader C19 National People’s
Coalition focussing on the food system.
The submission makes alternative proposals for the administration of relief to small-scale farmers around
four immediate issues:
a)Broadening the eligibility criteria for who can apply
b)Ring-fencing a budget for allocation to resource poor farmers
c)Broadening the types and modalities of support that will be funded
d)Extending the deadline for submission of applications
In addition, we submit that a wider range of Government Departments and local municipalities and NGOs
could play a role in the distribution of vouchers in order to reach those farmers most in need and at risk of
COVID-19 has illuminated in a stark manner the vulnerability of South Africa’s food system. The historical
and post-apartheid centralization and consolidation of production, agricultural suppliers and food retailers
means that South Africa’sagricultural and food economy is dominated by a small number of corporate
conglomerates who squeeze out producers and small suppliers and retailers in normal times. COVID -19 thus
comes into a highly skewed and constrained environment, with disaster measures to contain its spread
locking people down into old apartheid spaces without adequate access to food supplies or health care. The
results are already catastrophic with hunger and food shortages being reported on a scale we have not seen
in this country for half a century. While we support Government’s strategies to contain the spread of the
virus, we are motivated by a keen awareness that the lockdown measures and their economic consequences
have disrupted food and resource flows between rural and urban areas and within households. Small-scale
farmers continue to play an important role in providing food in their local communities, although on its own
this cannot meet the full demand. Other small-scale farmers have lost access to markets they were
previously supplying, and narrowing of channels for agricultural input provision threatens continued
production in the next few months. Suspension of school feeding programmes and lossof employment, both
formal and informal, have sharply increased the need for distribution of food to those in need. How we
support our smallholder farming sector in the next few months to a year will determine to a large extent
whether these people will survive as farmers and suppliers of local food systems or will become a further
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desperate burden on state recourses for grants and food parcels. The longer-termimpacts of COVID-19 will
require changes in forms of economic organisation. In particular, morelocalised food economies that are
responsive to local food needs, short supply chains to reduce travel, and local open-airmarkets that can
flexibly accommodate embedded social distancing measures will take on more significance. Most food
parcels focus onnon-perishable groceries. The provision of fresh produce to vulnerable communities is
critical both from a nutritional diversity and health perspective, but also to sustain household and
smallholder producer livelihoods through this crisis and in the period of economic reconstruction beyond.
Smallholder producers can play a critical role in the necessary restructuring of food systems that will follow
this immediate crisis.
3.Analysis of the problem
Smallholders, as the Department’s National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support
acknowledges, are highly differentiated and yet the relief attempts to provide a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
If this segmentation of support is not built into how the disaster relief fund is disbursed and managed,the
Department will fail to target up to 94% of the farmers who are partof an invisibleeconomy and which is
key to the household economies of the rural and urban poor. It is these farmers who most in need of relief.
If they are not specifically targeted, the relief fund will succeed in supporting only the six percent, mostly
male farmers who are already well integrated into support and commercial market networks.
The definition of smallholder the Department is using to target its relief relies on the concept of turnover
for which farmers must produce financial records or “evidence”. This is consistent with the Department’s
current redistribution programme, the Proactive Land Acquisition Programme (PLAS), where turnover is a
measure of “graduation” into commercialisation. However, smallholders are a much bigger and diverse
group of producers and they do not only produce food. Smallholder farmers include:
Farmers and household producers (mainly women) who produce for their own subsistence;
Farmers and household producers (mainly women) who sellsmall surpluses into informal markets
(pension pay points or at the gate) often on a cash basis;
Smallholder farmers (mainly women) who manage mixed farming systems including crops and
livestock, farm in low input and often organic oragroecological systems,who do not purchase
chemicals and fertilisers from corporate retailers but use local suppliers of manure, seedlings,
seeds, effective micro-organisms, biopesticides and veterinary requirements.
Smallholder farmers who do not farm full-time but use small injections of cash from farming as a
critically important component to sustain mixed livelihoods that are often heavily dependent on
Farmers of non-food products such as rooibos tea, essential oils or herbs such as buchu
The concept of turnoverand the expectation of financialrecords or evidence of sales are unrealistic as a
mechanism to identify the great majorityof these farmers; and yet, it is precisely thesefarmers who are
sustainingthe most vulnerable part of our food system under lockdown. The farmers already tied in to
government programmes (such as PLAS farmers) are thus at an advantage in relation to applying for the
relief. It is thus puzzling why the fund further consolidates this advantage by ringfencing R400 million (33%)
specifically for PLAS farmers, who have been described in research as beneficiaries of “elite capture”. The
ringfencing will enable 8000 PLAS beneficiaries to benefit.Assuming the remaining fund is distributed to
the six percent of better off small-scale farmers able to produce financial statements or bank accounts,
who each apply for the full R50000 of relief they are entitled to apply for, a total of 24000 (8000 + 16000)
farmers will benefit in total.Given that this is an insignificant distribution relative to the total estimated
number of smallholders (that is, 1% of 2,2 million producers), itis important that Government attempts to
distribute the relief more equitably.
Most smallholders do not farm single commodities but operate mixed farming systems that make limited use
of chemical inputs from commercial agricultural suppliers.Many rely on organic inputs sourced from
neighbours and small local suppliers. These suppliers appear to be excluded in the voucher system, which
identifies (and prioritises?) Boxer, GWK, NTK, Cambridge Foods and Obaro as possible suppliers. The support
being offered to farmers, through vouchers for industrial inputs, seems designed to squeeze farmersinto
this unsustainable, high input model which doesn’t achieve sustainability goals, including reducing
environmental impacts. Such objectives are clearly specified in the Department’s Comprehensive Producer
Support Policy.
The previous Minister of Land Reform andRuralDevelopment, Minister Nkwinti, described policy
implementation has a “total system failure”. Similar comments were made in the High-LevelPanel Report
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and the Presidential Advisory Panel Report. We cannot assume that this total system failure has been
addressedand fixed, and in this time of urgency, we cannot rely on the Departmental officials to administer
this relief without CSO assistance. Indeed, President Ramaphosa in his announcement of the disaster
measures indicated thathe wishes to see the active involvement of CSOs in efforts to deal with COVID-19
and its impact on society. CSOs have access to farmer data bases, small localised suppliers, and can quickly
develop linkages between small producers, small retailers and households in desperate need of foodand
are willing to support the relief measures.
The requirements around submission of the application forms need to be clarified and communicatedwidely.
In addition to the practicalities of printing the applications forms, it is not clear how and to whom do these
forms get submitted. The form only provides the Department’s physical address in Pretoria. If it is through
the extension services, then it is likely that agroecological producers, non-food producers and farm dweller
micro-producers and labour tenants who are not normally connected to this support will be excluded.
We call on MinisterDidizaand the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
immediately to consider the following proposals:
Ring-fence a budget for allocation to resource poor farmers
Ringfence at least 35% ofthe fund to household producers, i.e. households that earn less than
R50000 turnover pa, as indicated in the Comprehensive Support Development Policy.
Deadline for application
Extend the deadline of the 20thApril to a period of 4 months in order to enable excluded small-scale
and micro farmers to apply.
Broaden and simplify the eligibility criteria for who can apply
Apply the definition of household producer as contained in the Comprehensive Producer
Development Support Policy and include rural, urban and peri-urban household producers.
Replace turnover as a criterion for application with information about the production being
undertaken at any scale, including subsistence. The information could be confirmed by affidavit
from an NGO, a councillor, a church leader, traditional leadership, pound masters and community
dipping officials. Disaster relief funding should be available to any person who:
Has a track record of producing agricultural products such as vegetables, fruit, rooibos and/
or livestock, depending on their request (what they last produced, when and how much)
Can specify what they produce and quantity; e.g. land size, crop types, animal numbers etc
Can quantify (eitherin terms of quantity and or yield, or in terms of no of meals per week
per household of x members and or in terms of an estimate of cash sales) the contribution
of their production to their overall ‘food budget’ and
Can state their access to resources (with visual confirmation e.g. photo); cropping area,
livestock, water source etc.
Allow those household producers and smallholder farmers who wish to do so to apply through their
Remove all tenure requirements from the application (i.e.leases, ownership etc) since many
farmers have unwritten agreements to use communal, church, Eskom, Government owned land, or
portions of privately owned farms that include the rights to crop and graze, such as is the case with
many labour tenants and farm dwellers.
Remove requirements for a bank account or detailed evidence of technical understanding of
production (like feed conversion ratios, mortality rates or yields per hectare). Include clearly that
unpaid household labour meets the requirement of a job.
Translate the applications into all official languages.
Broaden the types and modalities of support that will be funded
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Provide household producers with a relief in a range of R5-R10000 per household based on their
production needs.
Remove restrictions or suggestions on where the household producers or smallholder farmer may
source their supplies from (the Minister in her press briefing did say small and informal suppliers
would be acceptable). Where support organisations are able to identifylocal input producers and
suppliers, these should be integrated as part of the recognised supplier base and supported as a
critical element of localised food systems during and in the aftermath of the crisis.
Apply greater flexibility in the type of support the relief may be used to purchase. Some livestock
farmers are reporting that they have sufficient feed but could productively use the support for other
In addition to a flexible use of the relief fund, we propose that support packages to micro- and
subsistence producers could be structured as follows, which will address household food security
and localised food markets:
Microclimate and water provision support for example; 6mx4m shade cloth tunnel kit
(R3500) or a stipend to pay for 12 kl water distributed over six months = R1800. This portion
of the budget should beflexible enough to include further ‘structural’ support to the
farmers, which could take the form of fencing support, rainwater harvesting, spring
protection etc, to accommodate the immediate needs in specific localities.
Diverse winter season vegetable seed types or seedlings based on availability, with an option
to include organic compost, bio and other fertilizers and pesticides to plant an area of
100m2 (R1000).
A selection of fieldcropping seed (maize, sorghum, legumes) for the upcoming spring
planting season to cover an area of 2000m2, with an option to include manure, lime, bone
meal and (bio) fertilizers (R2000).
Small livestock production support: provision for 20 broilers or10 layers; (day old chicks,
medication, starter and finisher pellets (R1500)
Large livestock production support: feed supplementation (R1500) (hay bales and protein
blocks. LS33 or premix 450)
Allow the relief to be used to acquire protective clothing and hygiene products to keep the farmers
and their consumers safe.
Additional considerations
The Department urgently needs to consider how to support the workers and their families who have
been retrenched by small-scale farmers preparing to survive the disruption to production as a result
of COVID-19.
Support farmers sitting on surpluses that they are unable to move due to travel restrictions to access
new and different markets.
Simplify the process for application and approval of essential services permits and makingitmore
accessible to enable small-scale farmers andmicro-food producers to perform the essential services
of growing and distributing food and securing the inputs that they need.
Make available simple information in multiple official languages on general safety guidelines for
interactions between people during the lockdown (social distancing, hygiene, masks etc), as well as
specific food handling safety guidelines at harvesting, packaging and handover of food to recipients.
Make available COVID-19 information (on health and safety measures, essential service and travel
permits) to be distributed digitally (WhatsApp,Facebooknotifications, bulk SMS’s) in low data
intensive designs. CSOs are already providing this information but it shouldbe continuously revised
and updated.
Broaden the point ofreceipt for applications to include Local Municipal offices such as Local
Economic Development (LED),Public Participations Units, Town Planning, Disaster Management
Units. These offices should be roped in by DALRRD to assist farmers to make applications as they
are closer to the target group, they have the technicalskills / resourcesrequired to complete the
Commit to publishing the lists of both those who succeed and those who don’t, and reasons for the
outcome, to ensure transparency and accountability.
5.Value add of the proposed amendments
The proposals madehere will ensure a more equitable distributionofthe disaster relief fund, which will
ensure that more micro, subsistence, agro-ecological and surplus-selling farmers will survive the COVID-19
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disaster. We believe this willcontribute in a significant way to creating more vibrant and resilient local
food, producer and retail systems.
In summary, we are proposing that the total fund of R1,2 bln is distributed in the following manner:
§R400 mln (33%) to PLAS farmers, currently ring-fenced as per Minister’s announcement, benefitting
a total of 8000 farmers.
§R420 mln (35%) ring-fenced for micro, subsistence, mixed and surplus-sales farmers who conform to
the Comprehensive Development Support Programme definition of household producer and who are
currently excluded from the relief, benefitting a minimum of 42 000 farmers.
§R380 mln (32%) to smallholders supplying informal or local markets, benefitting 7600 farmers.
This increases the total number of smallholder farmers receiving COVID-19 relief from 24000 to 57 600
farmers. While this is still support to very few compared to the need, it is a more equitable distribution and
reaches more than double the number of farmers compared to the current process.
6.Medium to longer term considerations
A number of proposals are emerging for consideration for longer term support to household and smallholder
producers. We’d welcome the opportunity to raise these proposals in a dialogue with the Minister, as soon
as the immediate crisis has passed. What is clear is that South Africa must build the resilience of producers
as key components of very local food systems if we are to cope with the economic downturn expected after
the Covid-19 has past and as climate change worsens, and droughts and floods reoccur in a devastated and
weakened post-Corona virus countryside.
The discussion areas are:
To support the development of local agroecological suppliers, particularly of diverseseed,
seedlings, bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides for crop production. Small enterprises supplying to local
producer bases can play a key role in this regard.
To find ways of stimulating localised markets building on the informal markets, street traders, spaza
shops, open air farmer’s markets and distribution points that already exist.
To undertake research to develop a scorecard or indicators oflocalised food system
vulnerability/resilience to target post COVID-19 support and to re-think the current model of food
production and distribution and how post COVID-19 agrarian political economies should look like.
To support and strengthen local food production along agroecological lines, and local distribution
systems using existing networks.
To discuss what will happen to Government support to farmer after COVID-19 given that the relief
on offer is a reshaped package that was on the table before COVID-19.
Use and repurposing of existing infrastructure and resources such as the EPWP, Agri SETA, training
facilities, extension workers, Agri Hubsand others to support the development and maintenance of
localised food economies that can respond to changing requirements in the aftermath of the crisis.
There are a number of “Agri Hubs” that are lying redundant country wide, atleast four of which are
inGauteng. We propose establishing functional team/s and a proactive programme to assist with
the appropriate use of these hubs, which are meant to be providing food security to the most
vulnerable.They appear as “White elephants” in the context of food security, especially in these
challenging times.
7.CSOs in support of the proposal and the support they can offer(separate excel sheet).